TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
Here’s an interesting scenario: imagine I was to auction off a crisp $100 bill, starting the bids at $1. The only rule is the second highest bidder would still have to pay what they bid but not get the money.
Pretty much everyone would still take the risk, initially seeing it as a chance at some cash for a fraction of its worth. Maybe you win at $42? Still a nice profit.
But as the bids rise...$70...$80…enthusiasm slows down. $82 doesn’t seem as appealing as $42, but still provides a reason to stay in the game, especially since you’d lose money if you’re not the winner.
Once the bidding hits $99, a funny thing happens. A bidding war with high stakes inevitability ensues. You’re in too deep now, better hold on.
The second highest bidder, the person offering $98, realizes no one is backing down, and raises their bid to $100, as to not lose their whole $98. But then the person bidding $99 raises theirs to $101, as its better to lose a $1 than $99.
This could go on for a very long time.
The problem is short-term thinking. In the beginning, the game is exciting and we don’t think it all the way through. It’s very hard to think of the long-term implications of everything we’re doing right now. Until it’s too late and we end up stuck, thinking “How do I get out of this mess?”
A lot of people get into situations like this. Fun and exciting in the beginning—a “great deal”—until shit hits the fan and we’re set to lose way more than we gained.
The party animal that ignored their food choices in their 20s only to inevitably have Mother Nature catch up in their 30s, where their habits are harder to break, life is busier, and their metabolism is slower.
The hopeless romantic who married their high school sweetheart when they were young and dumb, before they really knew themselves or each other.
The college dropout who became an entrepreneur because it’s on trend.
As I approached 30 and the paths of those I grew up with started diverging, these were all things I began to notice, whereas, in my 20s everyone was pretty much in the same boat.
What you have to realize is that sometimes the game is rigged and the smart choice is to not play at all. I think the best question we can ask ourselves about the decisions we make is “How will this game end?”
It’s why the lottery works so well and why gambling is always a bad idea. The house always wins.
I believe most of our pain and suffering stems from our own short sightedness, which almost always gets us into big trouble. Long term thinking and human nature don’t mesh well. It’s a mindset so few have or can maintain. I’m not really sure why that is. We’re all guilty of getting into something without thinking of the ramifications. This post even serves as a reminder to myself.