Choices And The Weight Of Expectations
by Awais Leghari
Very recently, I re-started gym to shed off the enormous amount of fat stuffed inside of my body. I am happy to report that I have been able to reform myself into a decent shape once again, but as you know, fat is that lying-around-the-corner curse. Despite all my efforts, I still feel that I need new jeans. I hope you do not doze off to all the insignificant things that you were doing just right now because the idea embedded in this post, which I shall reveal as soon as you affirm your intentions to read this post, is kind of…interesting, and to top it off, it starts off from a hunt for some new jeans.
Usually, I know precisely the product I want to buy. From every small thing such as a Snicker’s bar to the big things such as a Macbook Pro, I know what I need. Despite the decent choices that present themselves as alternatives to my locked-on-product targets, I don’t get easily swayed. Perhaps, if we just add a little bit of a human touch to even the small things out there, the scenario changes. If my friend recommended me to ditch Snickers for a bounty, I would’ve done that, most probably.
So when I step into the jeans shop, I am clueless. I don’t exactly know what I want, except the jeans, of course. The salesman approaches me and enquires about the product I seek.
“Jeans – the good ones”
What does ‘the good ones’ mean, you might be wondering. For you, I would say that I wanted to buy jeans that were expensive because we all know that expensive jeans are good. For me, it was just another concession. The salesman went away for a while and came back with around a dozen of different, yet blue, jeans. There were several kinds of gimmicks of the fashion masterminds on the pieces lying in front of me and surprisingly, all of them were ‘good’. Now, the ‘good’ represented the aesthetic factor, and not simply durability. For a person who usually knows what he wants, this was like the birth of expectation. You see, when you know what you want to buy, you have the ‘perfect’ expectation, which really isn’t an ‘expectation’ at all in the first place because you know the ins and outs of the product you are about to purchase. Here, however, that was not the case. My mind was concocting an image of myself wearing jeans without a shirt, with all those crazy abs that the girls die for – but still – the crazy, sexy factor was accentuated by the appearances of those jeans my mind chose for me to wear.
It is not highly surprising at all to concede to the fact that you shall never be able to replicate what your mind images of you. It isn’t a dirty secret anymore that your mind shows you five times more attractive than you are when you stare yourself in the mirror. I apologise to all the low-esteemed readers out there for sharing this fact. Now at-least I had an expectation, a standard that needed fulfilment. I viewed every pair of jeans with an imaginary supplement – I was trying each and every pair without putting it on (So much for inception).
I felt miserable doing so. Laboured, to be more precise. Whenever you fulfil the smaller requirements of your life, you feel happy. Now, in order to be happy, I had to work. And despite all the work, all the moderation, I couldn’t recognise ‘the perfect pair’. It was like solving a mathematics question with a time limit whilst employing the trial-and-error method. Click, you’re wrong and you have your money wasted – in short, you’re unhappy. Another click, and you’re happy. Simple as that.
I wonder if the availability of choices make our life more difficult for us, in some cases. Regardless to say, my thoughts don’t necessarily apply to a democratic procedure, which is wholly centred around ‘choices’, and not imposition. But as we live our normal lives, seeking happiness in the little things that we buy, does having a choice make our lives miserable? Needless to say, the elders still grunt that their times were better than ours. Unfortunately, they left the ‘why’ part hidden for us to be discovered, as if it was lost wisdom. It might actually be lost wisdom, too.
My friend recently bought the new iPhone 5. He wasn’t sure about it, though. Anyone could foresee limited satisfaction on buying any phone these days. S3? They say the iPhone is better. iPhone? They remark that S3 is ‘made for humans’. And now that my friend was finally getting the hang of iPhone 5 and settling in, someone else just purchased a Nokia Lumia 920, powered by the new Windows OS for mobile phones. Now my friend thinks he made a wrong call to go for Apple. Guess what – RIM even launched BlackBerry Z10 and will soon launch Q10 – new smartphones that embrace BlackBerry’s newly formulated OS called the BlackBerry10. I hope you get the point, here. Despite all the massive increase in the number of options, people are getting confused by the minute because they cannot decide which phone will ‘hit the jackpot’, which phone will cure their gloom and make them happy. They simply cannot ascertain.
This is trial-and-error, isn’t it? A vicious cycle where you end up using a product, then get disappointed and seeks pastures new. When you switch, initially the happiness and satisfaction pervades, but then like the ghost of the past, it slowly dies to round-off an ‘unhappy’ experience. So may be this DOES happen in democracy as well.
Now, the dilemma I was facing at the jeans store was at it’s peak. Thinking all of what I just told you, of course in a much more rudimentary yet convincing manner, I picked the pair closest to the standard set by my brain.
A week has just gone by after that epiphany at the store, and I can feel the sting of disappointment.