Choices

On holiday last week, one of the people in the group I was with mentioned that the completion date on his new house has passed by the previous day.  He wasn’t sure if the completion had been successful; he would wait until returning home to contact his solicitor.  The rest of us were a little stunned: it seemed amazing that someone could come on holiday and leave behind such a major transaction.  Even more amazing was the fact that this man had decided to purchase the house after just one viewing and he hadn’t returned to see the property since.  He simply went around the house once, knew it was the right place for him, put in an offer and left the rest with his solicitor.  Even his estate agent had tried to persuaded him to view the house again, but he didn’t see the point.  He had done plenty of research, knew the area, had viewed several other places beforehand, and felt confident in his decision.

I really admired his confidence and self-belief.  This decisiveness wasn’t evident in every aspect of his life; the same man struggled to choose tea or coffee whenever a drink was offered.  However, when it came to major decisions, he said he was simply able to follow his gut instinct.  The higher the stakes, the simpler he found the choice.

I’d thought about this often since my return from holiday and found myself applying a similar strategy with two large purchases today: a new laptop and a bicycle.  With regards to the former, I was dreading having to replace my old machine as I’m not very au fait with technology.  I live in fear of making the ‘wrong’ choice & being left with an expensive and useless/inconvenient mistake.  Using what I am going to label the ‘Chris principle’ in honour of his house-buying example, I found my decision made easy though.  Yesterday, while buying a birthday cake, I saw a good deal on a laptop at the end of one aisle.  Having slept on it, I did a price comparison on Amazon and then returned to the supermarket and purchased said laptop (the last one available, no less).  Got home, plugged it in, am now using it.  Hurray!  A complex choice rendered simple through the ‘Chris principle’: I saw one that I knew ticked all the boxes for me (admittedly I didn’t have a hugely complex criteria) so I bought it.  Job done.  And I’m sure that I’m more happy with my choice than if I’d trailed around lots of places and angsted over several different makes and models. 

With regards to the bicycle, the ‘Chris principle’ was applied after realising that I simply couldn’t make a decision on which to get.  I’d asked for a bike for my birthday, hence my mum and I had both done research on what’s available etc.  Visiting the local bike shops this afternoon, I realised that I’m still not really in a position to make a decision – certainly not an informed one.  Too many options and not enough certainty about what I actually want beyond a vague aesthetic notion.  Rescue came in the form a family friend offering me her old bicycle.  I’d assumed that the frame was too big for me but in the face of complete bicycle confusion, I went along to try hers out and with the seat lowered it is fine.  In fact, the bicycle is perfect for me for now.  Until I feel ready to make a different choice.

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