Every decision has a benefit and a cost. Most of the times, we don't bear the cost of the decision at the same time when we are receiving the benefit.
When do you pay for something determines your choices more significantly than you can imagine."
Consider the following scenarios:
Buy now, pay later
Buy a beyond-budget luxury car now, pay later.
Swipe your card for an expensive furry jacket now, pay for it later.
Dine in your favourite restaurant now, pay later.
Throw big parties today, save for your retirement later.
It’s not only about just paying later. It can be about paying earlier as well.
Fill up gas today, drive 5 unnecessary miles later.
Recharge your phone today and do some avoidable usage later.
Add currency to your game card and pay some uninteresting games later.
And its not always about the money..
Smoke now, pay for the health later?
Eat the Big Burger now, pay with a little extra weight gain later.
Sleep now, pay for not exercising later.
Don’t respond to the service request now, pay (loose a customer) later.
Spend too much time on social network, pay for the unfinished work tomorrow.
We take unsuitable decisions when the timing of our payment is different from the timing of our decision.
This time gap between bearing the cost and enjoying the benefit of a choice is the one which makes us choose irrationally.
The test to make a better choice is to ask yourself, "Would I make the same choice if I had to pay for it right now in cash, health and discomfort."
Imagine eating a big mac and instantly seeing your weight going up by a quarter pound.
Or imagine taking actual cash out of your pocket for that furry jacket while buying it.
Or driving those 5 extra miles if you were in a cab and were to to pay the driver in cash.
Would you still make those choices?
The greatest thing that I learned by NOT reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
About 10 years back, I discarded the 7 Habits of Highly effective people book as boring and lengthy. I strived to read it but couldn’t read past the first few pages. I felt that the book wasn’t written with the reader in mind and the examples were grossly irrelevant. But I had always appreciated the concept and the author based on the limited summary that I had read.
So I ignored the the details in the book and decided that I’ll never read it. I never recommended it to anyone else and even discouraged a few readers from reading it based on my reading experience. Nevertheless, I kept the book in my library because it looked good.
But I always kept practising the habits, as mentioned in the titles, without worrying about getting into the details. The smaller lessons in these chapters didn’t matter. Years of such practice only increased my respect for the author. In these years, I must have picked the book tens of times with an intention to read it. But my previous belief didn’t allow me to read it any further than the few pages that I had read before.
The sad demise of Stephen Covey touched something deep inside me but couldn’t move me enough to immerse myself into his great work.
Over these years, my life took every turn that it could. Life blessed me with good times and bad. I read a few more books that had a profound impact on my life. I was quietly drawing lessons from these great teacher’s works and tried applying them in my life.
But I learnt more from the biggest teacher of all times, that is life itself. I kept walking on the journey, learning some big lessons the hard way, developing insights and carving my way of dealing with things. I cherished my self-learned lessons more than the ones that I read. In fact I felt privileged to acquire them.
But life has certain circles that you never understand. Today, nearly after a decade, I stared reading the 7 Habits again. This time, with more respect and dedication towards this great work.
As I read through the first few chapters I was astonished to know that the smaller lessons that were hidden in these chapters were actually the big lessons I had learned from life. The ones that I was proud of. The ones which I felt were only mine. I wish I would have convinced my stupid-10-years-younger self to persist through reading this book. I wish I would have known these lessons earlier. These insights were always there, in fact very much available to me, but I wasn’t grown enough to understand them.
This whole experience dawned upon me that there are things that we didn’t like before. There are things that we don’t like today. Probably these things aren’t bad. Just that we haven’t grown enough to understand them.
Make some noise. Create a ruckus.
Those who like it will join you.
Those who won’t, will ignore you.
And the ones who really get upset will screw you.
But one thing is for sure. You wont go unnoticed.
Get noticed. Make some noise.
Most businesses today spend a lot of time and effort trying to explain their customers how their product or service is better than others. What they are actually trying to do is to prove how they are the best available choice to the customer.
A little reality check would easily reveal that you can never be the best. Because the criteria of being the 'best available choice' differs from customer to customer.
Also, it is often difficult convincing a customer who is looking for a best option to meet his needs. Because in spite of anything that you show him, he always tries to find someone better than you. In fact, the more you try to prove him that you are the best, the more difficult it gets to convince him.
Even for the customer this process of finding the best choice is usually time consuming and even confusing at times.
It usually never works when you try to win the race to be the best. Instead change the perspective. Don’t tell him how you are better than others. Instead tell him that you or your product would meet most of his needs just like any other option available to him. Help him to saving his time in over-evaluating options. While doing so tell them about some of your unique ‘cannot-be-found-anywhere-else’ features. (if you have any). Also explain the customer how engaging with you can add value to him in the long term. Shift the focus from a transaction to the relationship.
Stop trying to win the game of being the best. Instead change the game and win the customer.
We all set goals. Whether we achieve them or not, we keep setting goals all the time.
“I’ll go for a walk tomorrow”
“I’ll wake up at 5.30am”
“I’ll finish this book in a week”
“I wont drink beer for the next two months”
“I’ll buy a home by this December”
Goals, whether big or small, are effective only when we take them seriously and commit ourselves to it.
Take a moment to imagine your life having achieved all the big and small goals that you set in the past 5 years.
Now, imagine your life after 5 years having achieved your current goals. And then without these achievements.
Which story would you like to write for your future.
To change the result change the inputs.
Change your level of commitment towards these inputs.
Take your goals seriously!