Did you ever spend gargantuan amounts of time obsessing about a particular decision or purchase? Which graduate school should you attend? What kind of car should you buy? Or spending weeks and weeks and weeks waiting for the perfect deal, or for a good-used version of some product that you want to come up for sale?
What sorts of things do we obsess over like this? Why? I used to think it was simply that we obsessed over large expenditure items, but that can’t be the case. Consider one thing that surprises me. When we choose a home to live in, that is often a multi-year or even a lifetime commitment. And moving from home to home is extremely costly, especially if you are talking about ownership. Given that your home is the place you spend most of your time, and the people who live around your home are the people you nominally see more than anyone, how come we don’t actually interview and talk with people who might be our future neighbors? Well, we know that it is a pain in the neck, awkward and a perhaps sends a bad signal about oneself to future neighbors, but that explanation doesn’t satisfy me. So, why don’t we do much more due diligence on the specifics of who lives near our homes? I’ve certainly never bothered to do it (I use heuristics I suppose), nor has anyone ever knocked on my door to see who I was before they chose to move near my home.
For example, I have spent more mental time and energy trying to figure out the right equipment for one of my simple hobbies than I have ever thought about my neighbor situation.