I spent the last 9 years working on multi-billion dollar construction projects. More specifically, my job was analyzing data and preparing various reports to explain how well the project is doing today as compared to the past assumptions made at the time when it was funded. Since these projects take up to 10 years to complete, the answers were rarely complete or certain. You just had to do the best you could and hope the message is received as intended.
Forecasting capital projects is actually much like trying to figure out where your life is going. The main temptation is to treat bad news as one offs and clinging to any type of good news as early signs of an imminent miracle. Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news and so it’s very easy to rationalize away or at least to kick the can down the road a bit farther; when the news gets easier to explain … at least hopefully.
I think that this is yet another area where wording matters a lot more than we think. When I used to believe I’m failing, the last thing I wanted to do is admit it, so typically I would just cling to some bright spots as future panaceas. For example, even though I was having miserable dating experiences I would ignore the inner work I had to do myself, because I was on three different dating aps which fed me inexhaustible supply of matches. Surely my faith in the online dating industry would pay off one day:)
In my case I found it much more helpful to take things for what they are instead of what they should be. This approach took away the emotional charge and allowed me to evaluate my circumstances more objectively. I actually wrote about it almost a year ago and today …. I am engaged. Much can be written about my relationship with my fiancé, but for now I’ll just write that what I am experiencing is something my logical mind told me would never be possible in the “real world”
So how about you? Are you taking things for what they are or what they should be?