The Cost of Contemplation

I clocked myself researching a small item on the Internet for hours a few months ago before finally pulling the trigger to purchase. From product reviews to social networking sites, I sifted through the data to make sure the purchase was truly worth the price tag.  Not only was there a massive amount of research and contemplation accomplished, the internal back and forth was highly comical.


While research was completely important for the acquisition, the dollar amount on the item was completely minimal. The actual time spent in research far exceeded the cost of the product.

“The internal back and forth was highly comical.”

Which got me thinking…

The amount of research should properly accommodate the amount of the possession.

This simple formula is not merely in regards to product purchases but speaks to life choices as well.

An Example: If one were to buy a necktie for Father’s Day, the price rages for men’s ties are $1 to $200+ on  Cutting the amount in half, we will presume that the average price a person spends on a necktie is $100 (which is incredibly high, depending on where you live, but bear with me).  Minimum wage in Indiana is $7.25 (NOTE: This is minimum wage… by all means, feel free to put what you make an hour into this equation.). With that said, a minimum wage worker essentially spends $7.25 an hour on research regarding what he/she is looking to spend on tangible product. Presuming that there were two hours of research into finding a $100 tie, one actually spent $114.50 instead of $100 on the item. This would seem like time well spent on a $100 tie but what if the final necktie purchased was $25? The actual cost of the necktie with the two hours in research would be $39.50. That my friend is a rip off!

Another Example: An Father is contemplating where the family will go on Father’s Day. The price for one cheap trip is $100 while a better opportunity is $400.  If the father makes roughly $40 an hour and spends 10 hours in research he has spent roughly $200 without making a decision (Note: People spend massive amount of time in contemplation and research. While 10 hours may seem like a massive amount of time, I can assure you it is not.) Therefore, if after 10 hours he chooses the $100 destination, he was only $100 shy of the other destination, which now seems like a better deal, seeing all the time he put into research.

So what?

The amount of research should properly accommodate the amount of the possession.

This is how you make a great purchase spending time wisely.

  • Finalize Actual Spending Before Starting Research: To know exactly how much you want to spend will help figure out how much time should be put in. Little items should equal little time while big items should demand more contemplation. I would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for a great product than hundreds of dollars in research for something cheap. Also remember this in regards to choices. Little decision should not have a massive amount of contemplation, while big decisions should be well investigated.
  • Finalize Research Time Before Starting Research: While locking in actual spending is a starting block, one should also finalize research time as well.  Ask yourself, “How much time am I willing to invest in researching this product/making this decision?” Stick to this system to make sure impulsiveness is not being acted upon.  When the clock stops, make the call by either saying “yes” and pull the trigger or “no” and walk away.
  • Don’t be afraid of a loss: If a small amount of time was put in and nothing is selected, there is no harm in not pulling the trigger. At least adequate research was done and hopefully you learned from the experience. One thing that can decrease the feeling of failure is documenting research. If this choice or product needs evaluated again, there is now a file folder to go back to so that one can see where he or she left off.
  • Celebrate: If you pulled the trigger or decided not to make the call, go use the time that would have been put into research into something productive. Now that the time is free, you are free as well. Enjoy!

Discipline: The difference between good and great.

Disciplined people enjoy the fruits of being disciplined! 



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