Monday, December 24, 2012

A wrong decision secured the princess a place in the dark world of the spirits.


Title Picture
Imagery like this feeds folktales. If she knew a little about the cost of search, the princess would not have been deceived.
I do remember a folktale about a princess who wanted the best hand in marriage. Well, the court messenger went round the kingdom and beyond to declare the princess’ wishes for the hand of the best male suitor. So, her suitors came. They came with treasures and gold; they came with servants and entreaties – to seek her hand in marriage. One after the other, the best men in the world came for her hand. They all failed.

Eventually, when she thought none of the men was good for her, a spirit being, who listens to the happenings on earth, knowing her weakness, came for her hand. He deceived her, giving her the satisfaction she sought. How did the story end? She left with the spirit being and was never found in the world of men.

Too bad, you might say. Folktales like this exist aplenty. This story is not about looking for morals, it is a classic example of what so many persons know but never knew they did: when we seek satisfaction, if options are presented to us sequentially, that is, one after the other, we do not always have the satisfaction we seek. We always have that angst, that feeling of insecurity, that the next option will be better than the last and the last is not better than the one coming ad infinitum.

Satisfaction comes with making the correct decision or choice.

Have you gone shopping to discover that another model of that shoe you wanted was not on display? You’d think the store was underhanded, right? We all hate uncertainty. It is the reason for the existence of insurance. Most persons are ready to pay a premium to take away uncertainties. Uncertainty creates angst. On the other hand, there are situations in life where all the options for making the correct decision can never be ready at the same time, especially in times of emergency; that will be a subject for another day.

Without mincing words, if you make people take decisions without presenting them with all the options in existence, they will never be satisfied.

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That is the princess’ problem. She always thought another prince was more charming than the last. She hoped for an abstract prince who would satisfy all her dreams of what a crown prince would act and look like.

So, her uncertainty led her to make the wrong decision. She was not satisfied until the spirit being came. Satisfaction is a basic human need. When we are not satisfied, it creates a market for our wants or needs. We are ready to pay extra for satisfaction. The princess was ready to rely on hope; to wait eternally for her prince charming. Have you ever had the same situation? I have and I believe I am not the only one.

The problem of not presenting all the options for a decision rests with the existence of alternatives. If all the options were presented at once, the princess would not have fallen for the spirit being. The deceit would have been discovered. The King was not wise to have realized that. You are fortunate to be reading this blog today; make a note of this.

Search came about because someone was not satisfied.

As I said before, since her prince charming was an alternative, she was ready to think: would the next prince be better than this one? Imagine you are in her shoes. All the princes came with gifts of state; déjà vu! You would tend to think like her, that the next would have something better, and the next and the next, ad infinitum. She might not have taken a decision but for supernatural intervention. We all face that problem daily. While looking for the best prices, we comparison shop. We even spend time and resources online for search. Looking for the best chef or restaurant? We spend time going through magazines and reading reviews. Want the best travel destination? We could make use of services like Orbitz or hipmunk .

It is not easy to have all the options at once. It would be fine if that was possible. Doing so, we could make the best decision, be more satisfied and be more committed to our choices. Our world is inundated with so much options that the search for the best seems eternal. Yet, there is a cost to looking for the best. Our search ends when the cost starts getting higher than the perceived benefits. The spirit being must have realized this in the princess and that was when he made his entrée. This is the human weakness.

Now, after all, everything has a moral. So the moral of the folktale: Look for a wide variety of options presented at the same time if you want to make a satisfying, committing decision. If the King had fixed a date for all the suitors to the princess to present themselves and asked her to make a decision on that date, she surely would have made the best choice of a prince charming.

When next you are thinking of an online shopping store, whether be it amazon, zulily or zappos, keep this in mind for a satisfying, committing choice.

Happy shopping this season.
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