Broker Check

People Machines

November 01, 2019

Before proceeding, I want to make a statement about what is to come. None of what I am writing here pertains to everyone all the time, though it has all pertained to me at various times in my life. And, indeed, some of it might not pertain to any of you, ever.

I am basing the following on decades of subjecting my own decision making to scrutiny, evaluation and lots of reading, combined with almost a quarter of a century of working with people in need of financial services.

In my experience and speaking generally:

1.) We are not change machines; we are status quo keeping machines. Our default setting is to stay with what we have and where we are, even if that is not as good as it could or should be.

2.) We are often consensus machines. This means that while we possess a certain level of open-mindedness, we often underestimate how strongly we are influenced by and follow our peer group and those we are routinely exposed to.

3.) We are peace machines, not conflict machines. Sure, we have all had a dispute from time to time with a friend, loved one or colleague. In the main, however, most of us tend to avoid conflict or want to resolve it quickly.

Because of the aforementioned, decisions encompassing some form of change or those which might take us in a direction away from what “everybody is doing,” can cause internal conflict. Since we prefer to resolve conflict as soon as possible, we will, at times, put those kinds of decisions on the back burner, perhaps indefinitely. I know in the past that I have. I also know that I cannot think of a single time that it has served me well.

In order to short circuit this self-defeating arc of procrastination, I have developed a simple mental module enabling me to make decisions without falling prey to, what I believe is, my biological hardwiring.

First, I understand and accept that my feelings of wanting to stick with the status quo and do what the crowd is doing, is a natural component of human nature. Changing our status quo or doing something different than most folks can provoke fear in us.

Back when I was an amateur boxer, I was afraid every single time I got in the ring. Even when I was sparring, which I did almost daily, I felt icy fear course through my veins. I realized then and now, though, that fear does not make us cowards. Fear makes us human. Bravery, after all, is the quality allowing us to confront our fears, not pretending that we do not have any.

Second, I ask myself if what I am considering is actually important enough to warrant my attention at all. The color I paint the basement closet probably is not particularly important. However, my family’s financial future certainly is. I believe you feel pretty much the same way.

Third, I commit to gathering and evaluating information. I do this, however, in service to actually making a decision, not so that I can procrastinate and forever put off making a decision.

By doing these three things, I have become able to act more decisively and make better decisions in the process. I believe, if you follow the above three steps, you will find that you can more easily focus on allowing the facts of a given circumstance to carry you, with a fair degree of confident serenity, to the place you want to be.

I believe we all agree that our important decisions are best made as a result of a reason and fact-based process of design, rather than based on a default setting that often has us clinging to, what could be, a disastrous status quo.

Let’s work together toward increasingly becoming logical thinkers and reap the powerful benefits that come with making decisions based on reason and not raw emotion.

It can be difficult admitting to ourselves that we often behave in a machinelike fashion. We have default settings that we tend to slavishly obey. If those default settings are good, then it will not prevent us from what we want to achieve. If, however, our default settings have us tossing logic aside, in favor of raw emotion and lack of reason, we might be headed – like lemmings – to something that is not good.

Work to make your financial planning the product of a good, decisive logical process. If you like, consult a financial services professional you trust to help you.

Take decisive logical action now. You will be glad that you did.

Scott R. McGimpsey November 1st, 2019

This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Financial Network Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm. Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.