People who overweigh the first-order consequences of their decisions and ignore the effects that the second- and subsequent-order consequences will have on their goals rarely reach their goals. This is because first-order consequences often have opposite desirabilities from second-order consequences, resulting in big mistakes in decision-making. For example, the first-order consequences of exercise (pain and time-sink) are commonly considered undesirable, while the second-order consequences (better health and more attractive appearance) are desirable. Similarly, food that tastes good is often bad for you and vice versa, etc. If your goal is to get physically fit and you don’t ignore the first- order consequences of exercise and good-tasting but unhealthy food and connect your decisions with their second- and third-order consequences, you will not reach your goal.
过于看重决策的一级效应，忽略二、三级效应的人，一般很难实现目标。因为一级效应和二级效应的意愿经常是对立的，容易使人做决策时犯大错。例如，健身的一级效应为承受痛苦，花费时间，这一般不是人们渴望的。而其二级效应，即更健康，外貌变得更具吸引力，则是人们渴望的。类似的道理，可口的食物一般对健康无益，反之亦然。比如，你的目标是身体健康， 但是如果你不忽视运动与美味但不健康的饮食之间的一级效应，不将决策建立在二、三级效应 之上，那么你就无法实现目标。
Sometimes it can be difficult to anticipate the 2nd or 3rd order consequences of a decision, such as one that involves using complex technology like X-Rays or DDT, where either things are not what they seem to be or there are too many unknown variables to make a sound decision. For more on the probabilities of personal decision-making, please refer to the “To Make Decisions Effectively” section at the end of Part 3.
某项决定的二、三级效应有时是很难预料的，就像加入了 X 光或数字资料发送机这类复杂的技术一样，要么不是表面上看的那样，要么存在太多未知变量，没法做出很好的决定。关于“有效地做出个人抉择”，请参阅第三章末的《有效决策》部分。
Quite often the first- order consequences are the temptations that cost us what we really want, and sometimes they are barriers that stand in our way of getting what we want. It’s almost as though the natural selection process sorts us by throwing us trick choices that have both types of consequences and penalizing the dummies who make their decisions just on the basis of the first-order consequences alone.
By contrast, people who choose what they really want, and avoid the temptations and get over the pains that drive them away from what they really want, are much more likely to have successful lives.
How much do you respond to 1st order consequences at the expense of 2nd and 3rd order consequences?