How to decide?

A couple of years ago I was on vacation in New Zealand. Jonathan and I had the opportunity to go bungy jumping from the Kawarau Bridge. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was how much it cost. Well over one hundred dollars! The first thing that came to mind, that’s way too expensive! I was ready to say NO, based on the price alone. Of course, I had a little fear too. I was ready to give in solely based on the cost. Fortunately, some part of me begged, what if I did this? How exhilarating. Fast forward two years and it’s one of the most memorable parts of the trip! So much, I proudly display the video to remember the occasion:

I could have chosen not to go, to save the money. I probably would’ve spent it on a nice meal, a diet coke before bed, a souvenir now tucked away in a box, and a myriad of other small purchases. Small purchases, that, now two years later, I wouldn’t even remember. I wouldn’t have the story to tell of the tranquility I felt, as I fell toward the river below.

Very few of us have unlimited budgets. We have to make decisions about what to act on and what not to act on. If we hastily act on price, we end up cutting the expensive items first. Small purchases won’t stand out, and although a few may be memorable, many will not. Sadly, many of the most memorable purchases are the expensive ones. Why? Because they’re often more valuable experiences.

If we defer looking at price, we can eliminate the bias that prematurely eliminates the most valuable investments. If we first focus on what matters, and ruthlessly scratch every marginal aspect off the list, then when we look at price, we’ll be choosing from the best possible investments. We’ll be deciding between bungy jumping, sky diving, or climbing Mount Everest. We won’t be deciding between diet coke, trinkets and other inconsequential investments. We’ll remember the experience for years to come.