I'm currently sitting in a balcony overlooking the Hilton golf course in Waikoloa, Hawaii . There's the pool I was in just an hour ago! Typically the Hilton style isn't my vacation of choice. I'm an off-the-beaten path girl. Dive bars, corner stores, and live like the locals Why exactly am I in a Hilton now?
It all started with me wanting a free trip to Harry Potter world. Hilton asked, "Would you be willing to listen to a presentation from us in order to receive two free nights at a resort? One of them is in Orlando!" Why yes I would thank you very much. And so I attend their presentation. Hey, what have you got to lose? You know you're not going to buy a timeshare. Except at the end of the meeting I kind of wanted to buy a timeshare. They're so convincing! They have compelling arguments about valuations and interest rates and cost of living adjustments! All those wonderful technical details a numbers nerd like me loves. The price is good, I have the capital, do I want to buy a condo?
Oh wait, I'm incapable of making significant financial decisions without meticulously going over spreadsheets and data again and again. I say thanks but no thanks, and before I can leave the table, they come back. An option. Pay a portion of the condo now. If in 18 months you decide you don't want it, you can turn that portion into a week long stay at a Hilton resort instead of a down payment.
Wait, Elise, why are you babbling your story about buying a condo? I'm never going to be in that situation! This is pointless.
While you may not be in this situation exactly, you're going to be in this situation at some point It could be what to do at work, it could be whether or not you change jobs, go back to school, decide to leave a romantic partner. Anything. You'll have a decision to make, probably a big decision. One that you really want to work out, but could also have disastrous results. Even more, someone is pressuring you to make this decision. Pressuring hard. How do you go about making that decision?
While it's pretty to believe we're rational human beings, our reptile brains still exist. We're fearful creatures who become more fearful when the stakes are high. We get emotional and the emotions override those logical portions harming our decision making capabilities. We panic and that's when we're most likely to make bad decisions. Why am I telling you this ? Because you should know how to override those emotional reactions and go back to your logical brain instead.
STEP 1: What's your bottom line? What's the worst case scenario? While we're emotional and irrational, we're also risk averse. Keep from getting caught up in the gilded daydreams by always having "This is what I can't lose" in focus.
STEP 2: How good is good? Marketing does this to you all the time. On Sale! Buy 5, Get one free! Save a total of.....$1? Sure, it's still technically a deal, but comparatively it doesn't matter much. Especially when it's the case you wind up buying more than you need just because it's a good deal. Which leads us to.....
STEP 3: What do you actually want? What will make you unhappy if you don't get it? The minimum of your desires. As long as you satisfy this, you're happy and everything on top of it is just bonus.
If you can keep those three in the forefront of your mind, you have a good chance of controlling the impulse beast away from a bad deal. In my case it went like this this:
What's the worst case scenario? I spend the money and I get a Hilton vacation at 50% off. Not too shabby considering Hawaii's on my list of places to visit anyway.
How good is good? Well again, 50% off the worst case scenario is good. But the actual deal? Well, that I don't know. It could be very good, it could be okay, it could be very bad. Label as indeterminate and judge based off worst case.
What do you really want? I want to travel! All the time. Do everything and see everything, Will this help me in that goal? Maybe, maybe not. Buying time to decide couldn't hurt given the alternatives.
And here I am on my Hilton vacay having decided against the condo. Am I disappointed in my decision? Just that I couldn't get more people out here with me.