The One Solution Fallacy: Is it Right for You?
Most things in life don’t have a hard and fast rule. The older I get, the more clearly it seems to me that there isn’t only one solution, one truth, or one correct answer. If this was a 3-choice answer sheet, the answer would be choice 4. People have their diverse opinions. I like it better that way anyways. It makes conversations more interesting and it makes people more unique. Imagine talking only to yourself for a few days. Very boring, very fast.
Here’s some situations where people often think that there is only one solution – their solution:
- weight loss (eat less food – your portion sizes need to change so that your body adjusts to a new standard of full, count those carbs – is a carb from a potato chip equivalent to a carb from a lentil, eat more frequently but smaller sized meals – all the athletes do it, eat gluten free – bagels and white bread make people fat, follow the paleo – our ancestors were hunters and gatherers and our body hasn’t changed that much, follow the slow carb – I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks, exercise 3 times a week – let’s turn that fat into muscle)
- work (go to school, work hard, get a great job that pays well and has good benefits and is known by everyone so that you have job security, get married, buy a home, have kids, grow old)
- money management (have a 401k – money compounds so start when you’re young, get a personal advisor – all the rich people do it, use a budget – I’ve never enjoyed counting pennies so much, don’t get credit cards – the APRs will get you and they hit you with a bunch of fees, get credit cards – credit cards have consumer protection and help you build a high credit score)
- getting rich (start a startup – have you seen all those overnight success stories and people in their twenties becoming multi-millionaires, rise in the ranks of a big company – less risk and more guaranteed pay each month, use only cash – once you’re out of cash you’re done spending for that month and you don’t build up debt, never have debt – that’s how the people in that book “The Millionaire Next Door” do it and they cut coupons, leverage debt – that’s how all the entrepreneurs do it and they got rich quick)
- looking beautiful (no makeup at all – stay au naturel, always wear makeup – can’t go outside without it, getting a tan – Americans seem to like this so much that they even have tanning salons, having as light of a skin tone as possible – Asians even hold umbrellas when it’s hot outside to fend against the sun, having lots of bass like in Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”, being like a barbie doll like in Aqua’s “Barbie Doll”)
- home or car ownership (buy a home – you’re losing money renting and this is part of the American Dream, rent a home – you have to pay for maintenance and taxes and other hidden fees and a mortgage that you’re chained to for 30 years when you buy a home, buy a car – the dealers make money off of leasers, rent a car – you get a new car every few years and learn what kind of car you like at first)
If anyone ever says their solution is THE solution, just smile, nod, and ignore their advice. Of course, you can try out their solution first to see how well it works and fits with you, and then make a decision.
It’s all about fit, really.
Your perfect may be someone’s perfect nightmare. Vice versa. Good and bad are out of my vocabulary now – too general.
There’s many things to consider to see if their solution works for you.
- Is it sustainable and easily adaptable to your lifestyle?
- Does it make you more of who you want to become?
- Does it align with your goals and values?
- Is it ethical and fair?
- Is this even important to you and urgent to you at this point of time?
- What are the opportunity and investment costs?
Some people want to get rich quickly in a short amount of time, and it can cost them in other areas. The most common being straining on their relationships. A lot of those Silicon Valley techies are still single and they’re in their 40s. They can sleep and cuddle with their millions at night though. Some people want to get rich slowly and have a more well-rounded life for the long-haul. Like what about going for a nice jog on the weekend and talk to you spouse when you get home from work? You won’t see their names in the newspapers or on tv.
It really depends on what you want, who you are, where you are in life, and what situations you’re facing.
Remember that a mind, a belief, and an attitude can change. It’s hard. You’re not alone. It can be done. I’ve had to re-adjust to a new normal many times throughout college. Now that I’ve started work, there’s a new normal too.
What you want might soon become what you once wanted but no longer want.
Be aware of how you’re feeling, what your past patterns have been, and what’s realistic while challenging you to grow.
There is no one solution.
There is just the solution that’s right for you.