Vincent’s Blog: Destiny, Chance and Choice!

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The Tuk Tuk is very noisy and swirling recklessly through heavy traffic on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, risking my life multiple times in a matter of an hour. I am on my way to meet Jain, my Indian tailor, to fulfill an order for handmade suits and shirts. You see, students who graduate need many suits and the good ones are very expensive. My simple idea was to “copy and paste” a good one and save a lot of money for a graduate’s first set of suits. Call it a business trip while I am still a graduate student. My driver smiles and talks back to me over his shoulder. I cannot tell him to be careful and look ahead. He doesn’t operate on terms of risk; he most likely operates on the mantra of Karma. I relax and give in to destiny. It is useless to try to change his habits. I don’t have a choice, I have no money for an air-conditioned taxi and it would only eat into my profits. Maybe I should have stayed home and studied for my exams…

Have you ever had a suit tailor-made? Do you know how many decisions you have to make and the amount of choices you have? What fabric, what pattern, what color, the buttons, what size, how many, what lining, seam inside or outside, pockets sewn closed or open, deep or shallow etc., etc. Wow, now I know why Hugo Boss suits are not cheap. Instead of going over all these options and contemplate the pro and cons of all alternatives, I gave Jain the new Hugo Boss suit of my client and told him to copy it. All I have left to do is choose six different patterns and colors of the finest English wool and I will be done.

What would you have done? How many variables and choices would you have liked to have? If you are like the rest of us, you prefer many choices to few. This gives us the feeling of freedom and control, but it would have taken you days to decide on all the options. Sadly, more choice tends to make us indecisive and to make matters worse, having more choices results in being less satisfied with our ultimate choice. Have we analyzed all choices correctly and what if…?

There are thousands of different funds and assets to invest in. The choice is overwhelming and we know what this means… This is probably why we still have cash in our savings account at a rate below inflation? This is why we likely spend our cash on temptations and have more satisfaction posting pictures of us drinking mojitos in Ibiza, or driving a new car than posting a picture of our investment returns. Believe me, when I say that research has proven that positive investment returns give you a much longer lasting smile than that mojito in Ibiza!

We cannot change your habits and tell you to limit your choices, to invest first and spend later. You have the controls. However, we can ask you to turn your decision process upside down. Start with making a smart choice, then give that choice a chance and you’ll see, destiny will most likely follow. You will feel more in control and leave less to chance and to destiny. I made it back from Bangkok with all the suits and shirts; all uniquely handmade and managed a nice return on my investment. It was the right choice to go. I gave it a chance and the rest is history.

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