It was Diwali time and wishes were being constantly exchanged by friends on cell, mail, facebook etc. Analyst had recently upgraded his cell and had installed whatsapp on it, so maximum conversation was beginning to shift there.
One evening, a message popped up with photo of goddess Laxmi that said “Pass this along lucky Laxmi pic to 10 people and wealth would follow you for rest of your life”. This is very simple and amazing message. To a rational mind this should sound absurd, how is it possible without doing anything just by passing this one can get money….that’s all….so simple …huh?….this in fact is nothing new phenomena at all. One who has lived during 1999-2000 (circa – 1999-2001…the rise of dot.com), followed by mobile boom and had been part of cycle when PC & net revolution swept through country one could easily related this. During those days one received numerous mails and sms on similar lines. And most of the time people without thinking too much followed instruction of forwarding it. Messages came in variety, right from blessing of goddess Laxmi (wealth) to all time happiness for family to all time peace or really scary one with some pic saying you have opened it and invited trouble forward it to avoid it thing. And message pretty much went on & on & on till the time it found it on new medium from email to sms to facebook to whatsapp to ….some place new.
So even though most people can easily make out this is just time pass activity, why do they still do it?…………………..Well answer to it is “Greed and Fear”
Human beings are greedy and fearful. So when one receives a message that says “forward to receive good luck/wealth” our minds are motivated by either of 2 above mentioned factor: Greed and Fear. We think, 1) “hell who doesn’t want more money, also what does it cost me anyway to forward this msg” or here is 2nd thought “ok this is stupid message, nobody can become rich by simply forwarding msg……but….what if my neighbour or my friend suddenly become rich and I didn’t…then what?….damn let me not take any chances and forward this”.
I am sure most of you would have spotted Greed and Fear in above decision; most of us have learned Maslow’s theory of Motivation (hierarchy of needs), there too security is first basic thing we seek and till date it works on us. There is difference in being greedy and ambitious; there is difference in being scared and panicked. Whenever our decision are based on extreme situation (irrational choices)…..one tends to pick a wrong choice. Remember all those individual who invested in a scheme that offered to double their money fast, remember all those stock tips that stock broker or agent gave you.
Human beings are flawed creature. We are not perfect and so is nobody, our choices are only half chances (picked up from a song)…….hence we try to maximise our chances for survival and winning. Before making any decision specially pertaining to investment/money, try being rational, think for a minute whether decision being taken is on its merit or driven by greed & fear.