Soap is 85 cents a bar or two for a dollar. Which one should you buy?
It depends. It depends on how much space you have, whether you like the brand, how full your cart is, and whether you’re sure the person who sent you to the market wants to buy you two.
It’s easy to focus on such low-value decisions.
There are companies that spend more time discussing a new logo than analyzing where to locate the new office. One is emotional and lacks economic importance, the other is vague, complex and incredibly expensive.
Perhaps you’ve seen someone focus on spending on impulse and figuring out a tip for pennies, but impulsively use credit card debt to go on a fancy vacation.
Marketers pressure us to spend as little time as possible thinking about things like long-term debt, the impact of going to a prestigious college, or the lifetime emissions of buying a certain type of car or house. But we spend countless cycles making trivial choices that make us think we have control over the world around us.
We can believe that if someone takes care of the little things, the big things don’t matter. or vice versa.
It turns out that looking at an uncomfortable big decision can pay for thousands of small ones.