“Thinking of going to college or taking a trip around the world? College can wait. Travel the world!” – Gary Vee
Gary is probably right about most things. However, there’s 2 biases that are in play with his advice.
Tell me what I want to hear bias (eg Confirmation Bias):
The bias to want to hear what you feel. I wrote about this in another article where gurus become popular not because they’re effective or give good advice, but because those gurus tell you to chase 6 passions simultaneously (and that’s what you wanted to hear). It may not be good advice to derail your employment career for your jaunt across Europe, but when Gary tells you it’s ok, it suddenly is now confirmed that dropping out of school is a good idea.
The Scarcity Effect:
The bias that something that is scarce is valuable. People think this is a bias that deals with physical things, but it’s rampant in non tangible things too. The problem is that because you can only go on a Europe trip this one time and then it’s going to be nearly impossible to do it later is now somehow, magically, and incorrectly, thought to be a better decision because “you can always go back to school” or “you can always find another job.”
This process is bad where we are giving priority for doing things that can only be done now AND giving them a ‘bonus’ over something that isn’t scarce (ie. getting a job, going back to school, etc). It MIGHT actually be a good idea to go on your jaunt across Europe. But it’s NOT a good idea simply because the alternatives could be pushed off.
Things that can be pushed off aren’t inherently a bad idea.
This logic goes down a slippery slope, “Hey Gary, should I start that diet to get ripped or should I eat this cake made by an amazing chef?” To which Gary will say, “Fuck those abs man, you can always start a diet anytime. This is CAKE we’re talking about. Don’t you love cake? I know tons of people with 6 pack abs that are miserable! Don’t you want to be happy?!”
His advice is seductive, and in fairness, it propagates because it’s OFTEN right. But lurking in the bushes near his good advice is are 2 biases waiting to latch people to him: 1) I’ll tell you to do whatever you want, and 2) Procrastination is ok. It’s hidden in his mantras about “patience” and the unreasonable premium on decisions that have an expiration date to them.
Gary helps people make the right decision a lot of times (starting your business, etc), but for the wrong reasons (“because other things can wait”).
Do the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because there’s an easy way to bail and jump ship to another idea (ie school, job). – Truth Cake
As an aside, Naval is the only person that I’ve seen describe advice on patience fully which is, “Be patient with results and impatient with the execution.”
If you’re trying to decide between things and you catch yourself saying, “Well, if X doesn’t work out, I can always go back…” Just stop. You’re making a biased decision based on the Scarcity Effect, and your conclusion is likely to be wrong.
What decisions have you made that you made because you felt that this was your “ONE shot” vs simply making a decision because it was the best decision to make?