"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise." That quote from Robert Fritz basically summed up my dilemma when I was in the market for a new laptop last weekend.
Buying my second laptop proved to be a more thrilling hunt than my first. If that sounds like "love is lovelier the second time around", that's not my fault--it's probably your corny imagination at work (ooppss) and, maybe, it also shows your age (I doubt if many young people today even know that a tune like that exists). Sorry for that unpleasant digression. Back to what I was saying, I enjoyed better the shopping experience this time because, at least, I knew what layman's questions to ask and what critical technical features to look for in the new computer. A little experience should count for something after all.
Still, choosing from a wide selection of brands and models within brands was a daunting task, especially since I had a budget to reckon with, like i mentioned in my previous post. I was looking for "value for money", which, I hate to admit, is a modern-day euphemism for a "bargain". No such thing, a wise man might say. Quality is always a function of price, he would probably add. But that exactly was my challenge to myself last Sunday--prove that a value-for-money brand new laptop exists and is not an oxymoron.
And what did I find out? Exactly what I was taught in business and economics...You have to pay bigger bucks for better brands. The better brands perform more reliably and consistently because they use chips and parts and what have you which are considered gold standard in the industry. Because of this, you cycle back to what I said earlier about paying bigger bucks.
I had a budget in mind. This was the tricky part because there were several models of the better brands whose specs were slightly downgraded to make them competitive with the best specs of the lesser brands. But that's just the hardware. The free licensed software that they bundled with each model heightened the stress in decision-making.
Let me try to give you simplified generic examples. Consider: The best specs of a lesser brand plus a Windows Vista Home Basic edition, versus the lesser specs of a better brand bundled with a Windows Vista Home Premium edition, versus the best specs of a better brand packaged with a Windows XP Professional. Hmmm....what do think of that for a starter? Throw in their corresponding retail prices and free giveaways and my, my...But enough already; the point has been made.
I spent some two hours shuttling back and forth between two competing computer stores at the mall to weigh carefully their various offerings. At the end of that tiring exercise, I foolishly went over my budget to get the best specs of the better brand with the latest software minus the giveaway. And at the heart of my choice that day was--my heart. Yes, foolish as it may seem, I chose the package that tugged at my heart more, despite the bigger hole that it left on my pocket.
The cold, clinical analysis that precedes a decision I make in life enables me to see a problem or situation objectively. It affords me an opportunity to weigh the pros and the cons of every issue. However, I can only intellectualize alternative choices up to a certain point. In situations where my best analysis is inconclusive, I let my heart rule. I go for the choice where I'll be "happiest"--a very nebulous concept that I cannot explain, but only feel. And then I hope for the best, that I did not err in my choice, that the future will prove me right. Just like in this case.
In hindsight, I console myself with the wise words of Robert F. Bennett about choices: "Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life . You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself."
I have made not a few compromise choices in my life. God knows I have regretted many of these choices, some borne out of self-doubt, and others, out of plain cowardice. Now, I know that genuine happiness can only come from the courage of your conviction to pay for the cost of a difficult choice that you truly want and desire, whatever that cost may be. Well, I'm not proud that I'm off to a rather late start on this in life. But at least I have started...
Have a great day, dear readers!
(The clipart shown above courtesy of Barrysclipart.com)
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