Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Simply Start!!

You start reading a new book. You get 100 pages into it, when you realize, that it isn’t really your type of book. What do you do?

You go to the cinema with your friends. 40 minutes into the movie, you realize that you will not enjoy the rest. What do you do?
You are on a date. Halfway through it you find out.. that this person isn’t right for you. What do you do?This is for the people who consider these scenarios and their truthful answer is, that they will finish the book, or watch the entire movie, or wait until the date is over to never call that person again.

If you’ve never done something like that and you think you never will, then you can stop reading right now.The idea I want to explore comes straight from economics and finance. Those disciplines are obsessed with the study of how to make rational decisions that maximize one’s value, or benefit. Such is the case with the principle of sunk cost.

A sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and can’t be recovered. The theory says that a sunk cost shouldn’t be considered when making a rational decision, because such costs are in the past. Here’s the magic advice: A decision should only be based on the merits and costs it brings from the current point onward.A resource in this case is most often money, but it can also be one’s time, or energy, or anything else that is of value to that person. Understanding the principle of sunk cost can be the most important thing you may ever do - it can free you to do what you need to, without being influenced by what came before.

Sunk Cost Fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy is when a decision making process is based on, or includes, sunk costs.
Imagine you’re running a marketing campaign for 10 million dollars. 5 million dollars in, you find out that your strategy is not very effective, and is getting very little traction. Would you continue putting money in that form of marketing, or would you use the other 5 million in an entirely new, but much more effective strategy? Most of us would have no problem answering a question like that, however the more involved we get, and the more we become part of the story, the less likely we are to make the correct decision.

The more involved we are, the more likely it becomes that we will fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy.
Why we fall prey to the Sunk Cost Fallacy
The reason we so often fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy has a lot to do with our own hubris. We don’t want to either admit that we’ve made the wrong decision in the first place, or we want to avoid any losses that we’ve already incurred.

This is the same reason that keeps a gambler glued to his seat when he is losing - in his mind the losses are not realized until he stops playing. Therefore, even if he is using a bad strategy, it won’t occur to him to stop and reconsider, because he wants to first recoup what he has already lost. Getting up from the table would be an admission of his bad decisions, and that is something he’d really like to avoid. In that frantic state, a gambler forgets a fundamental rule that we are all privy to, when we are calm and composed - ‘That you shouldn’t go throwing good money after bad’.
Imagine that you buy a movie ticket. As the movie time approaches, however, you find out that all of your friends have gone to this movie and they all say the same thing - that it sucks. You are now left with two options.

You go to the cinema, and you watch a movie that you will not enjoy.You don’t go to the cinema, and you do something you will find more fun.Viewing the problem like this, most of us wouldn’t like it, but we’d reluctantly write off the 10$ we spent on the ticket and do something else. Imagine now, that nobody’s told you that it’s not going to be a good movie. Therefore, you find out it sucks only 20 minutes into it.Now it gets much more complicated to do the right thing. You drove all the way there, you paid for the ticket, you’re sitting in this nice and comfortable seat. Furthermore, walking out now, would show all these other folks in the cinema that you’ve made the wrong decision to begin with. You’re already so invested in seeing the movie… It’s very hard to walk away.This inability to see the situation as an outside observer, poses the significant challenge to realize when we’ve fallen prey to the sunk cost fallacy.

How to recognize the Sunk Cost Fallacy
Researchers have found two characteristics that are usually present when one fails to exclude sunk costs from the decision making process. You should look for these clues, and upon recognizing them, you should ask yourself whether you’re currently making the best possible decisions you can.
Being overly-optimistic of the chance of success One of the clues that you’ve fallen prey to the sunk cost fallacy is when you’re being overly-optimistic of the chance of success in whatever you’re doing.For example, let’s say that you’ve just spent six hours writing an essay, only to then see that you didn’t take the best approach to begin with.

At this point it would be best to start from scratch using the appropriate strategy. However, it’s hard to admit that you’ve wasted all of this time for nothing, so you’d overestimate the chance that continuing with your current method will be better. If continuing on will take you another 6 to 7 hours, while using the new approach just 5, you will most likely fudge the numbers a little bit, so as to make it seem that keeping up with the current strategy is the most rational and best decision.
Or, let’s take the movie example from up above. Once you are already 20 minutes into the movie, you might realize that it’s not a very good movie, and the chance that you will enjoy the rest of it is about 10%. However, just because you’ve already made such a big investment to go see it, you might convince yourself, that this is much closer to 50 or 60%. Because of this, you will stay there, and most likely end up losing your time.

There’s not a foolproof way to realize that you’re fudging the numbers in this manner, because it is mostly done unconsciously. The best way to guard against this is to stay on your toes at all times, and anticipate that possibility. By knowing that it is likely, it is easier for you to spot and avoid.
To notice this sign of the sunk cost fallacy, ask yourself whether you’d give the same probability for a good outcome, if you were not already invested in that outcome.

Letting your personal responsibility in prior decisions affect you
The second sign of the sunk cost fallacy is allowing your personal responsibility in prior decisions to affect you.This plays a big part in business organizations, where it is likely for a manager to refuse to see that his actions are not really as effective as he’d initially imagined. Even when faced with overwhelmed evidence to the contrary, he might refuse to see through his rose-colored glasses. That is because he has taken the responsibility for the prior decisions that lead him to that point and he hates to admit that he’s done an error.

Or, taking again the movie example from above. Imagine now, that this is a movie that you were very excited to see, so you convinced all your close friends to come out and see it with you. Once you’re all out there, you find out it’s not that good of a movie. Chances are, you will definitely not leave, and chances are, after the movie is finished, you will even say that you kind of enjoyed it. This is because you hold the responsibility for picking the movie and bringing everyone out - it’d really suck to have to admit to have wasted everyone’s time. And leaving halfway through the movie - that is now absolutely out of the question..

To notice this sign of the sunk cost fallacy, ask yourself whether you’d act the same way, if you were an unbiased observer.
The sunk cost principle teaches us to make the most out of our resources, our money, our time, and our energy. It is an invaluable lesson in how to best expand and fulfill our potential

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Important warnings in life?

You get up in the morning, drag yourself to your work. You come back home mentally and physically exhausted. You fume and complain. But you eat, go to sleep, get up next morning and again drag yourself to work. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month….. There is nothing wrong with the world around you. Either you have to change or your work needs to be changed.

You buy a treadmill and work on it for two hours a day for a week. And then you stop. A month passes. You look at the treadmill everyday after you return from work. You pity yourself that you are too tired and promise to start the next day. The next day never comes….. You need to get your motivation back before a scalpel or pills become the only option.

You get up in the morning and have a look at your mobile phone before you brush your teeth. You are browsing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…. in your bed at night. You are on them when your mother is calling you to have dinner. You do not want to visit your friend in the neighborhood because you want to see what your one thousand virtual friends are commenting about your last post…. You need to return to the real world.

You keep on saying, ‘When I was your age, I did this,’ ‘When I was young, I could do that,’ ‘I did this’ and ‘I did that’….. You need to shift your focus to your goals in future.
You keep saying to yourself, ‘When I am thirty five, all my financial issues will have been resolved,’ ‘I will change my eating habits when I am thirty.’ ‘I will start losing weight when the new year begins’….. That day will never come. If you need to begin something, you have to begin it today.

Happy 3.0 RiRi

Go shiner on baby!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Behind Every Excuse is the Real Reason

One of the things that I’ve recognised as a differentiator between healthy and unhealthy relationships is the presence of excuses, whether it’s yours and/or theirs. In the worst of situations where you may be denying, rationalising, and minimising, you may even be making excuses for their excuses which only goes to show how poor the original excuse was.
Just like how on the other side of a jumped boundary lies disrespect, on the other side of an excuse often not only lies at least some element of disrespect but also the real reason.
An excuse is a reason that is given to justify an offence or fault but its primary purpose is to lessen responsibility by getting you to overlook, excuse, or even forgive off the back of it. This of course is rather tricky because when there’s excuses it means that any commitment is being lessened, which means everything else tied to it becomes pretty flimsy. You may also be overlooking things that are busting up your boundaries.
People often get ‘reasons’ and ‘excuses’ mixed up because there appears to be some crossover. Excuses allow people to remain in their uncomfortable comfort zone, dodge conflict by avoiding honesty both with others and themselves, dodge accountability, and cast themselves in a better light.
Saying “The dog ate my homework” gives the impression that you’ve been a victim of misfortune and avoids conflict whereas saying “I couldn’t be arsed to do my homework” or “I forgot” makes you look lazy and lacking in conscientiousness.
Likewise saying “I’ve been really busy” gives the impression that you’re so busy (ya know busier than a world leader) that you haven’t had the time to contact or see them whereas saying “I’m not interested / am half-hearted / have been trying to get back with my ex” will not only have you in the position of saying something that most people squirm at and possibly inviting ‘conflict’, but if you’re the type of person that likes to hedge your bets, you may want to keep them as a rainy day option. If anything you’re hoping they’ll take the hint and do your job for you and at the worst of things, you may be hoping the excuse allows you to avail of their ‘usefulness’.

Excuses are inherently negative whereas things happen every day that are positive that have reasons behind them – that’s what a reason is; a cause or an explanation and yes sometimes a justification for something happening.
A reason doesn’t lessen responsibility or even act as an automatic precursor to being excused or forgiven and what I’ve found differentiates a genuine reason from an excuse is that when someone provides a reason for why something has or hasn’t happened, a solution is in the offing.
People who make excuses aren’t really looking to ‘make sh*t happen’ or find a solution that you can both live with, or even ‘rectify’ or make amends. Excuses are not real reasons; they’re BS ones.
In my post about ‘Sorry’, I explained how when someone gets on your case about accepting their apology or forgiving them that it really means:
“Look, can you hurry the eff up and accept my apology so I can stop feeling bad about it? You perceiving me as wronging/hurting/abusing/whatever you is terribly inconvenient and my ego doesn’t like the pinch of reality, so if you don’t mind, get a shuffle on, accept my apology and let’s move on so I can slam my palm down on the Reset Button. “
Well guess what? When someone uses an excuse, they’re really saying:
“Look, hurry the eff up and get off my case so I can get my shag / ego stroke / shoulder to lean on / money / perfect image back etc. You perceiving me as wronging/hurting/abusing/whatever you, is setting off my responsibility alarm bells which is setting off my reality alarm bells which is setting off my commitment, expectation, and intimacy alarm bells. The sooner I’m excused, the sooner I can get back to doing what I always do.”
Or “Look, can you hurry the eff up and get off my back because I’m only offering up this feeble justification for what I’ve said/done or failed to say/do because the real reason doesn’t sound too great when said out loud and may invite conflict, plus if I gave you the real reason, it would put me in the position of actually having to do something.”
Or “Please reduce your expectations of me and this relationship immediately.”
Sometimes, they’re even saying “Look, you know and I know what’s happened here but if you want to go along with this charade, I’ll throw you an excuse and see how much more of a free ride I can get.”
Sometimes, they’re saying, “Wow, it seems like you don’t seem to see what’s really going on here! Can’t you see I ain’t sh*t?!/ Can’t you see that I clearly am not putting in the time and effort here? Hmmm…well I won’t be direct with you because I don’t want to look like the bad guy here, so I’ll palm you off with this excuse in the hope that you get the hint. And if you don’t, well it’d be almost rude not to avail of what’s on offer…”
Often it’s literally “I cannot be arsed to put some real effort into a real reason.”
And when you make excuses for their excuses “I’m telling you….I’m not leaving! You’re the best thing I’ve never had or only had for a short time before the Future Faking ended and I don’t want to let go of the fantasy because then I’d have to see and accept some uncomfortable things and even get out of my comfort zone. You’re gonna love me!” – Note, best read as if singing with Jennifer Hudson’s voice.
And when you make excuses for yourself “I’m not really looking to find a solution or take any action that would involve making a decision and leaving my comfort zone.”
Behind every excuse is the real reason.
Sometimes it simply boils down to “I don’t want to try” and what’s really important is that you don’t clog up your life with excuses whether it’s yours or theirs because you’ll become a person of inaction that doesn’t make decisions. Excuses, especially when we buy into them make things appear more complicated than they are.
The next time you’re presented with an excuse, it’s time to ask “So what does this mean?” or “So what happens next?” I remember when Dot Dot Dot Man told me how busy he was for the umpteenth time and how he’s not ready for a relationship and I told him that he clearly doesn’t have time for a relationship and this meant that our ‘relationship’ was over.
That’s what it meant and that’s what happens next when someone keeps excusing themselves for not having the time, energy, decency or even ability to evolve into a copilot in your relationship.
Trust me when I say that when someone is looking to maintain the status quo and keep palming you off with excuses, no solutions are on the horizon, after all, if they’re the one making the excuses, they have to be a part of the solution, which means they have to be responsible in the relationship, which means that excuses become redundant.
You’ll know you’re in a healthy relationship when you don’t have to listen to excuses or make excuses. Instead of accepting excuses, start accepting the reasons.
Your thoughts?