As Barry Schwartz once said in one of the Google Talks, “The spectre of regret I think, makes even unimportant decisions loom large.” I was so awestruck with the prophecy like quality of this observation; and at the same time wanted to observe the behaviour of people (me first) when provided more options to choose from than not, that I decided to take a break from everything mundane and see it for myself.
0 – Since I’ve been employed, I have been invested in the markets via the mutual fund route
1 – For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been saving money to buy my own car (without any outside help like loans etc.)
2 – Job switch scenario
I found out that while making an investment choice, bigger number of NFOs available was in fact a bane to a newbie like me. I still remember few of the SIPs that I enrolled myself to with so much of expectations, which I regretted later when other funds that I overlooked earlier outperformed them.
Lesson learned: ‘You can never predict the market, and you can never make better choices based on your dreams and expectations.’
During the last two months, I noticed that I have suddenly turned myself into some sort of motor geek (or something like that if this term is horribly out of place :-)) while deciding on the car model and make for my long awaited purchase. It’ll be worthwhile to say that I took this opportunity as a well worth research project on verification of various theories on human decision behaviour.
I would not go too deep into what exactly I did, but one thing’s for sure that I did spend a lot of time collating the qualitative observations and matching them with those of mine during the process. The most profound thing that I found out (and that’s the most relevant here) that the more I studied about the pros and cons of a particular model or trim, the more I got alienated with it. The more I sought opinions from other folks whom I unfortunately deemed more knowledgeable than myself on cars, the more confused I got (and so did they,) also, I found out that everyone’s is as confused and petrified as I am due to the obscenely large number of options available at hand to an average consumer.
To overcome this phenomenon (kid in the toy store), I tried it on myself, unlike the kid who window-shops each and every toy at the high end kiosk where he in all probability would not set foot in a hurry, I decided to go head on and booked almost all the cars that were available within my budget.
The next part of the story is interesting, and that’s why Mr. Barry Schwartz finds a quote of his mentioned as a start to this blog post… I started seeing things that I could never have. The car models that I booked must all be having some pluses and many minuses, but I didn’t realize earlier that the minuses start creeping in the moment you have this feeling of owning (at least partially) a particular entity.
I know there are many who’d say that this is not something new (the grass is greener on the other side thing…) but I still wanted to know about the person who does own a worldly article and is reasonably happy about it. My motive to go into such a study was to see whether it is possible to be happier than sad with one’s choice, especially in light of options available.
So, I was at ‘seeing things differently,’ and I reckon this can be applied to anything that can be ‘purchased’ 🙂
Since now I ‘almost’ owned few of the cars available in the market at that point, I could figure out with enough impartiality which one of those I wanted to play with the most; as in who would be the Woody or a Buzz Light-year in that figurative world of toys. And as that kid would do, I found that most of the cars, with the passage of waiting period, started to loose the centre stage and only a few were left in the end (I thought of ‘Less if More’). Needless to say that I found the Woody in the end at the cost of cancellation amounts for all the cars that I decided to put in the box back. On the hind sight though, I’m happier now. (Lesson learned: ‘You can never choose from 1000, but you can choose from 2, always try to eliminate as many choices as possible before even start off, sometimes the best way to do this is to LET GO! :-)’)
How many of you had already have far too many offers at hand before making a move to the next job? I guess, many of us. Now, the next question, how many of us do make the best choice? I guess again, not many of us… 🙂 I won’t go beyond this point now because you can’t have lessons here, you only can have an Aphorism, ‘A job can’t be purchased, unless it’s associated with anatomy.’ LOL
I have been off this blog for close to three months now, and I was pretty sure that it would have vanished from Google search indices, and so it did. I was keeping busy with my day job and my academic work that required hell of efforts to time-manage, besides, I was also going through the customary (temporary) disenchantment after a period of initial (and euphoric) peak with blogging. Now that I’m back with whatever I wanted to do, I hope it’ll be a while before I go off Radar again 🙂