Resulting Fallacy

The quality of your decisions and the quality of your results are not always related.

"Resulting" is a logical fallacy where we evaluate the quality of our decisions based on the outcome they achieve. In other words:

  • If we got the result we wanted, we assume it must be because we did something right
  • If we didn't get the result we wanted, we assume it must be because we did something wrong.

The resulting fallacy is bad because it prevents us from properly evaluating whether we're making good decisions.  Sometimes we win or lose by factors we can't control, regardless of the decision we made.  For these reasons, we need to understand that our end results alone don't tell us whether we're good making good decisions.

The resulting fallacy manifests in any area of life involving decision-making.  Here are some examples of how resulting can impact your Jiu-Jitsu:

  • You won a match, so you assume you had a great gameplan.
  • You lost a match, so you assume you had a poor gameplan.
  • A technique worked, so you assume you did it correctly.
  • A technique didn't work, so you assume you did it incorrectly.

It's pretty easy to think of examples where the above situations could be untrue.  For example, you could wind up winning a match based on an athletic advantage or an opponent's mistake, even if you didn't have an effective gameplan.

Relying on the resulting fallacy will hinder your training and growth because it will prevent you from identifying and focusing on the areas where you need to make better decisions.  This will prevent you from creating good gameplans and understanding techniques over the long term.

To defeat the resulting fallacy, explain your decision to a training partner without telling them the outcome you achieved. This allows that partner to give you objective feedback on your decision, without being biased by the result.


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