“I think about decision in three ways: hats, haircuts, and tattoos.”

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

I first learned about today’s quote from a fellow blogger named Stephen St. Amant, whose work at savenwood.com is brilliant! I highly recommend adding his blog to your list of daily reading.

James’ post reads:

“I think about decisions in three ways: hats, haircuts, and tattoos:

Most decisions are like hats. Try one and if you don’t like it, put it back and try another. The cost of a mistake is low, so move quickly and try a bunch of hats.

Some decisions are like haircuts. You can fix a bad one, but it won’t be quick and you might feel foolish for a while. That said, don’t be scared of a bad haircut. Trying something new is usually a risk worth taking. If it doesn’t work out, by this time next year you will have moved on and so will everyone else.

A few decisions are like tattoos. Once you make them, you have to live with them. Some mistakes are irreversible. Maybe you’ll move on for a moment, but then you’ll glance in the mirror and be reminded of that choice all over again. Even years later, the decision leaves a mark. When you’re dealing with an irreversible choice, move slowly and think carefully.”


What is the right amount of time and energy to allocate to your hat, haircut, and tattoo decisions?

Where are you acting too slowly or too quickly given the potential down side of being wrong?