Suboptimal decisions are luck

People often make suboptimal decisions, based on their biases, laziness, or whims. These decisions then constrain their future actions, whether they intended that or not.

Example A: The CEO of a company pushes to acquire another company. Buying the company has ostensible benefits which the CEO emphasizes, but on balance the true reason is because the CEO personally likes the company being acquired. Employees of both companies are now constrained to make this acquisition “work”.

Example B: A person buys a fancy gadget on a whim. It has ostensible benefits, which the marketing department of the gadget emphasize on the side of the box. But on balance, the gadget isn’t the best possible use of the person’s money. The person’s actions are now constrained by the gadget. It provides an attractor to any problems that might be solved by using the gadget, and the money used to buy the gadget can’t be used to buy other things.

These decisions are suboptimal, but they also constrain actions for a long time. Unlike say, buying an ice-cream cone, it ties their hands.

So, in the future, the person/company is forced to make decisions where they must “make do” given that the past decision constrained their actions. They have to get value out of the decision, however they can.

Sometimes making it work requires a lot of ingenuity they would not otherwise have employed. That is, if they had made an optimal decision previously, they wouldn’t be in a position where they needed to exercise extreme creativity or resourcefulness.

This is, in effect, a form of chance or luck. Sometimes the world imposes arbitrary constraints on you which you must overcome. In this case, your past lazy/biased/bored self has imposed the constraint you must now operate under.

It promotes ingenuity, which often causes good results and uncovers hidden opportunities that would not have been discovered if optimal decisions had been made.