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Tough Love: Life is a Choice!

Tough Love: Life is a Choice!

Unless your name is Mr. Spock, you sometimes make illogical decisions. If your name is Mr. Spock, it’s time for you to move out of your parents’ basement and get a job!

Why do we make seemingly irrational decisions when it comes to our lives? Shouldn’t we do what’s right?…what’s best? While these are highly subjective ideals, we usually have a pretty good feel for what to do. Not surprisingly, it oftentimes conflicts with what we want to do.

It’s rather appropriate that we tend to describe our actions in terms of “feel”. Mr. Spock thinks about his decisions – we as humans are apt to include our feelings as well as our thoughts when we make our decisions. This painfully obvious fact has given birth to the fields of behavioral finance and behavioral economics.

Now there is a movement afoot referred to as neuroeconomics – the goal of which is to study how our brains are “wired” in hopes of explaining why we make decisions the way we do. (Editor’s Note: See p. 94 – 95 of the March 28, 2005, edition of BusinessWeek for an article regarding this topic.)

This sounds plausible enough but we at Apollo Wealth Management are highly skeptical. Something seems wrong here. Is there a conspiracy lurking about? It seems to us that this might be a front for Big Pharma. After all, if we can find a biological reason for our behavior then we can change it with medication. Has anyone seen the adult ADD ads currently running on TV? The strategy seems to be to create a drug and then invent a condition for its application.

OK – maybe we’re exaggerating a bit but we’re setting up for our big conclusion. Here it comes: LIFE IS A CHOICE!

Why do we behave the way we do? – because we CHOOSE to! Why do we forgo investment in favor of consumption? – because we CHOOSE to! Why do we buy trophy homes with crushing mortgages? – because we CHOOSE to! Why do we work late at the expense of time with our families? – because we CHOOSE to!

The easy solution to all of life’s problems may be found lying on a therapist’s couch, inside a bottle of pills, remembering the amount of love we got (or didn’t get) when we were children and so forth. Now these neuro economists have given us another reason (or excuse as we like to see it). It’s not our fault that we behave the way we do – it’s all because of how our brains are wired.

Baloney! We make choices in our lives. Let’s start taking responsibility for them.

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