Hick's Law

HICK'S LAW

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
-- Bruce Lee

Hick's law, or the Hick–Hyman law, named after British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically.

Given a choice, I’ll make a good decision… given several choices, a positive outcome is far less likely. This little gem of knuckle-dragger wisdom comes to us courtesy of “Hick’s Law” better known to students of psychology as the Hick-Hyman law. Put simply: the more options we have, the longer it takes us to make a decision. That may seem like “common sense” to the more experienced among us, but take a second and think about how this applies to our lives. More to the point: think about how it applies to fighting for our lives. The more options I have to defend, say… a right hook, the less likely I am to be able to deploy one of them quickly enough to prevent my chin from doing it all alone. It doesn’t take much of a look to decide that fewer options are better where extremis is concerned.

Key take away? Simplify your tools and tactics. The more you have to think about, the slower you will act.