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Faulty comparisons

Faulty comparisons

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Published by Nukemm33

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Published by: Nukemm33 on Jan 27, 2011
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01/27/2011

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We might just be a bit fixated on analogies. By this, I mean the way we always compare twoobjects in relation to each other, as if by putting them next to each other, we somehow stumble upon arevelation of their true value. I cant help but wonder if sometimes this is to our detriment. After all,each entity is completely separate from another and different entities have different vectors whichmake them incomparable to anything else.The most obvious area where we see this is in comparing people. Ive often compared twopeople for a position, or two people Ive been in a relationship with. So lets walk through how thisprocess might flow.First you find your ideal two subjects, lets say we are thinking about a job position, and we arelooking at Jack and Jill. The next step would be to set out a list of criteria in your head. Most the time weactually do this without even realizing it, but in order for the next step to occur, this has to be done. Forexample, I would start by saying, Jack has 5 years experience with network systems. Now I haventreally thought about it, but Ive already looked for my first criteria, experience. From there youd look atthe experience that Jill has and compare the two. Well, Jill has only 2 years in network systems, but shehas 4 years in database management, you might say. I dont want to get too far off topic, but the pointis that in order; we first pick our targets, formalize criteria, and then compare the two based on thecriteria.The immediate problem that I see with this is that, your criterion isnt the standard by whichthey have formulated their career. In a perfect world, sure, everyone in a particular field would gaintheir experience the same way, but in the world we live in experience is based on opportunity. And sure,youd like someone who walks dogs to have experience walking dogs, but walking sheep instead of dogsis still valid. They both entail the same amount of difficulty.You could go on and compare their education, their time at a certain place, their personalreferences, and even their credit scores, but all you can really learn from this is how responsible theyhave been and how they have used the opportunities theyve been given. There is no thin line todistinguish someones value over another. I personally know this as Ive hired someone based on theirresume, and found that the factors that I didnt base my criteria on quickly soured our workingrelationship.Its these unaccounted for variables that make our process of discernment convoluted. AsMalcolm Gladwell explains in his book Outliers, we are all victims of circumstance and opportunity.This isnt to say that you should hire someone with no experience over someone with years of experience, only that if you feel they both have equal potential, you should dig deeper and not let yourcriteria blind you from their true value.Lets move away from people though, to a seemingly less complex object. We can comparesports. Ive heard a lot of conversations start this way, I really like football, but I cant really get intobasketball, then another person will claim the opposite and theyll being to talk about why they likeone opposed to the other. First, let me start by saying that each persons perspective is different fromanothers as each individual has an opinion based on years and years of subjection to different
 
environments and experiences. Having two perspectives compare two objects is futile. Sure, you canstate the obvious facts like, Well, football is a high contact sport, and agree, but these facts only holdvalue based on personal preference.So to get away from this futility, lets imagine that you are sitting at home, trying to decide if youlike football or basketball better. Without knowing it, youve probably stacked the deck against one of them. Its a widely known fact that if we have any kind of connection with something, we place a certainlevel of importance on that based on how it affected our lives. For example, my grandfather had seasontickets to the Houston Oilers when I was young, and my earliest memories were of him and me watchingthe game together. Compared to basketball, which I really have no personal relation to, football, in myeyes, holds much more importance. This is just an example, but you can see how the deck can quicklyget stacked based on past relationships to the game, whether you even have a team in your hometown,or if youve played that sport.Even with all this aside, the fact still remains that these are two completely different entities,with completely different sets of rules and players. To compare them is unfair; however, we comparethings such as this every day without even realizing it, and then based on our comparison make adecision that can have a varying effect on our lives. The football vs. basketball was just an example, realworld comparisons take place at a much quicker rate and have a much larger effect. It could be whetherto take this job instead of that job, whether to exercise or spend time with family, or to enter into aserious commitment. The football vs. basketball was just an example, real work comparisons take placeat a much quicker rate and have a much larger effect.So what can you do about this? Simple, in order to fully understand how you evaluatesomething, just think back to a major decision you made and remember what the deciding factors werefor you. Lets say I was a job. Below is a table based on an imaginary job, where Job 1 is your current Joband Job 2 is the Job you could have had:Job 1 Job215 minute travel time 30 minute travel time26 dollars per hour 28 dollars per hourWell Established Company Relatively new companyBased on this list, you might easily deduct that the two extra dollars an hour dont beat thedouble travel time and the standing of the company. But are there other factors at play? When mostpeople consider jobs, they set their list of criteria, which is normally pay, travel time, company history,and suspected contentment in this position. This seems fine, however, there are things that play intothis comparison that are lurking underneath and are not readily seen at first glance. Lets say, forexample, that you are already over-extended on your house note and at home point you are forced tolive with a family member, bringing your new travel time to 45 minutes for Job 1 and 10 minutes for Job

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