Pincer Movement

Most marketing and sales teams throw different products at us in a pincer movement. Obeying the advice of Sun Tzu, they leave a slight opening in the flanking flood of choices – an opening that makes us think there is an escape, we think we are getting a better deal, we think we are making a timely choice, we feel we’re in charge and that we’re better off purchasing the opening. The openings include discounts, extra quantity at same price, loyalty rewards and bonus points.

The choice is actually systematically predetermined.

Our choices should be premised on our needs. We should make purchases based on our predetermined needs. But if we all did what we should do, we would still be in Eden. It is even more difficult in a world that has moved from choices based on superior fact to choices based on popular opinion.

An item you need that costs ₦10.00 will bring the value of ₦10.00 or even more. An item you do not need that costs ₦10.00 but is selling at a discounted price of ₦8.00 will only bring you a maximum value of ₦2.00 (feel-good feeling). You ultimately lose ₦8.00, if you go for the opening.

Openings are antifragile – the more you get, the more you want.

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life – Jerzy Gregorek.

When you feel like you’re being flooded with choices, dig in and resist the instinct of self to purchase an opening. It is your money, your store of unrecoverable spent time, use it wisely.

Simple heuristic: If you’re evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path that’s more painful in the short term – Naval Ravikant.

That said, what is a life without some wrong purchases that will punish self in the future? What is a life without some poor choices? A life that is not free.

The only way to defeat pincer movements is to recognize them early, discipline self to follow through on your predetermined need, and never go for the opening.

– Osasu Oviawe

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