Closing a Few Doors

Humans like to keep all options open. Even when we know some of the options aren’t frutitful. Even when it costs money to keep unfruitful options open (i.e. even when keeping options open is irrational). Interesting summary at nytimes.com of tests conducted on M.I.T. students designed to see just how far we’re willing to go to prevent a door from closing. “Closing a door on an option is experienced as a loss, and people are willing to pay a price to avoid the emotion of loss,” Dr. Ariely says.

Life lesson: Let options go. Simplify. Declutter. Know what’s worth your while, go for it, and don’t sweat the decisions that have already been made. Don’t kid yourself that you can follow every path, investigate every avenue. Know small potatoes when you see them. Keep your eyes on the prize. Obvious stuff maybe, but interesting to see it documented in this way.

Since conducting the door experiments, Dr. Ariely says, he has made a conscious effort to cancel projects and give away his ideas to colleagues. He urges the rest of us to resign from committees, prune holiday card lists, rethink hobbies…

Music: Billy Harper :: Credence

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