Your estate agent rings. He says he has the perfect house for you. You view it. It’s good. You buy it.
Buying a house is never that simple. You have to wade through a bunch of awful agents before you find a good one. And then there’ll be problems with each house you view. Issues with the solicitors and the surveyors. Hidden problems and unexpected costs.
Even if everything goes perfectly, few people purchases the first home they see. Why? Because to make a good decision, you need to understand the options.
In the case of buying property, that means having a price range. That means understanding the trade offs of each different location. It’s access to amenities and transport links. The history of the house and the surrounding area.
It means determining risk. Understanding how difficult it will be to change the house in the future, and how much work is required to transform it into your dream home.
It means doing all of this for multiple properties.
Now think about another big life decision. Changing career.
You hate your current job. It’s strangling your energy and happiness. So you decide to change and do something different.
You like the idea of being a service provider. Working for yourself as an independent business owner. For a year or two, you clock in and out at your current job, whilst training on the side for your new career. And then, after much time and struggle, you make the leap.
Now, here’s two questions that I hope you’d consider in the process. “What are my other options? What are the different ways I can reach the same goal?”
If you don’t know the alternatives to your current course of action, chances are, you’re making a mistake.
Consider another question. “How do you know it’s a good idea if it’s the only one you have?” Answer: You don’t. You can’t. Only by comparing the pros and cons of a variety of actions can we figure out which is the right one.
But, what if there’s no other options? What if this is it? It isn’t. There’s always another way. Another route. Another option. Another variation. You just have to imagine it. To see it. And if you can’t, don’t act.
When you decide to do something, have a list of alternatives you’ve decided not to pursue. Only then can you be sure that this move is based on judgement and understanding. Rather than being a consequence of your inability to figure out what else you could’ve done.