What is your default?

We all have default settings. We are aware of the default settings when we go in and unbox our computers. But we are less aware of the default preferences when we start working with someone (unless of course they write one of those personal user guides — but even those are not particularly comprehensive most of the time). This would be solved if we could communicate to each other — coordinate — and make sure everyone understood our preferences.

The problem with this is that most people do not understand their defaults themselves. They do not understand what is important to them (and what is subsequently less important to them, or most important to them).

I use the word defaults, but you could also add words like priorities and preferences.

When I think about defaults, I think about problem solving. What is your default mode of problem solving?

You can think about this via an example and it may be more clear.

If I asked you to clean your bedroom, how you would start?

Would you pile all the clothes in one corner and then organize things? Would you do it iteratively? Would you not have to do anything because it was already cleaned?

This is a relatively simple example but you can think of it as illustrative of defaults.

The same is true when we are writing essays or building projects or painting art. We all have a default mode — a style of sorts.

I wonder what would be the ultimate question to illuminate defaults in people. How can you figure out your actual preferences? What you actually like versus do not like?

You would think this to be as simple as just asking someone but I do not think this is the case. I think most people would need to externally process for a while and even then talk is talk — I want to know what gets people walking.