Most of us have engaged in philosophical discussions. While stimulating, these discussions rarely result in anything productive. Nor does much of today’s speculation.
This blog post was triggered by my growing fatigue at listening to newspeople and pundits speculating on what might happen under the Trump regime. My fatigue is the same as that experienced after the ‘high’ spawned by a philosophical discussion. I feel that I’ve wasted my time and energy because there is no result to be had.
Role of speculation
The proper role of speculation is exemplified in the scientific world where speculation leads to experimentation which leads to greater understanding if not specific results.
While it’s easier to visualize in science than in other disciplines, the role of speculation should be the same for any endeavor. It should only be employed when there’s an opportunity to improve upon existing knowledge and the results that knowledge engenders.
A teacher, upon observing students’ reactions to her method of teaching, might speculate that other approaches might produce better results. She experiments with those other methods and adopts one that produces better results.
An accountant, upon seeing the confusion in managers’ eyes, should speculate on other ways to present the financial information, try them out, and adopt those that produce the best results.
A professional fisherman should speculate on how to make his lures more attractive to the fish he’s trying to catch. His livelihood is at stake.
The applications are endless, but the focus of effective speculation is the possibility of making things better.
If like the media and political pundits you’re engaged in speculation akin to a philosophical discussion, stop wasting your time and energy. Instead employ those resources in ways that can produce better results for you and those you serve. That’s the appropriate use of speculation.