Dichotomy: A Simpler Life

Dichotomy implies division or splitting into two different options which are completely opposite to each other. Dichotomy is a term more associated with question papers as more and more examiners are swearing by the ease in conduction and authenticity of multiple choice questions’ test as well as its evaluation. For example, a question is having only two options to choose from: Yes or No. This is a classic example of dichotomous questions with options completely opposite. True or false, Past or Future, Right or Wrong, In or Out, all are viable dichotomous options and are to be used in pair only.

Returning to focal point of this post, why I usually prefer dichotomy or prefer to convert a situation or problem in dichotomous option problem? (Please see, that whenever I will be referring to a problem, I won’t be talking about some problem faced in a test but general life problems which are common to all or at least to me. Also I am explaining my approach towards life and not trying to force it upon anyone. 🙂 Peace!) There are places in life, where a lot of the precious time can be saved by making irrelevant choices faster! Whether to wear this shirt or not? “yes” “no” “may be I will if it will look better with those pants!” Should I wear those trousers? “yes” “no” ‘May be they will look better with some other t-shirt!” What about the shirt I was going to wear? “Yes” “No” “May be with some other trousers!” And clearly the cycle can go on.

This was a very trivial example of just clothes! Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is known to have eliminated the choice in his clothes to avoid any problems and not waste time in dressing up. There are other situations: “Should I invest in that particular project?” Possible answer: Yes, No, May be I should depending upon so and so conditions, maybe I shouldn’t depending on so and so situation and then there will be complex situations too. I prefer to limit them to “yes” or “No” only! All other calculations can be done later. Ratan Tata, Former Chairman of Tata Group, one of the gigantic names in Indian Industry, once remarked that: “I don’t believe in taking right decisions! I take decisions and then make them right!!”. It not all implies that one must take decisions blindly, but if you have taken one, then back your instincts at all costs.

Limiting a situation to dichotomous choices serves a good purpose: weighing and comparing your choices gets easy. Mostly it eradicates any confusion left. Again it varies from person to person, how strictly he adheres to his line of distinction between the dichotomous choices. There will be people who might work on the extreme ends of continuum while distinguishing between their choices where are there will be people with all the shades in between. Again there are people with different methods to choose between the two options. Some might resort to pure luck and then work their way from there, some prepare a list of pros and cons, some back their intuition, some have devised other methods like spiritual methods. Their applications might vary and we may be doing it unknowingly too. Some area of introspection.

I prefer to work on my intuition or “clicking” or “appealing”. It works this way: If I come across some situation where both prospects are very different and I have to choose one, and there is no clear choice based on initial inspection, I go with the one which “clicks” to me or “I find more appealing based on my intuition” or which “seem” more feasible. I make the choice based on that and then march forward all prepared to deal with consequences. No shortcuts. I have observed that following this practice over the years, seem to have developed an intuition which gets polished with time and more choices one makes. Thus life is much simpler structure this way for me as compared to a complex situation with all the permutations and combinations of numerous choices we create for ourselves. Again, just a matter of personal preferences and one’s attitude and approach towards life!

Nirōpa (Good bye in Marathi 😀 )


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