The Big Variable

When we embark on a plan, we strategise for everything. We take everything into account. Every possible factor that can impact the plan and our lives.

However, there is one variable we do not account for. The one variable we do not know anything about. The one variable that can make us a success, make us happy OR it can lead to a complete disaster.

The variable is linked to us being humans. Humans who have emotions. More often than not, our decisions are driven by emotions. We all like to be called rational beings but it is far removed from truth. Gut feel. Instinct. Like. Dislike. Fear. Exciting. Emotions come in various forms which make us who we are. Make us choose or not choose.

Imagine a scenario. A VC has five proposals in front of him. Every proposal is well thought out. The ideas are excellent. Every proposal almost on par when it comes to a sound business proposition. But he can only fund one start up. How does he choose? It boils down to personalities. People he will feel comfortable giving money to. His judgement of a person. His instinct. Now most will say the plan must have been better and therefore the funding. That isn’t the truth.

When we are hiring somebody, while qualification and experience is fine, we are focused on our interaction with the person. Likeable personality comes into play.

Same goes for relationships. We like a person. We hate a person. We love a person. It is all emotion.

Our love for brands is also in the same category. Yes we do rationalise purchasing a particular brand but it ultimately is about how the brand makes us feel.

We can never account for this variable. We have no way of knowing how the person will react. What are his motivations. What are his barriers. Did he get up from the right side of the bed when he was taking a decision. Is he under some kind of intense stress. Is there something happening in his life that might impact his decision. Maybe he doesn’t like people in beard. Maybe he is short and doesn’t want tall people around him. You never know. And you are left wondering what went wrong. Similarly, there can be pleasant surprises too.

The point is that your success or failure is not about whether you planned right or not. It is not about whether you were good or bad. It is a function of somebody out there making a decision based on his emotion. How he feels about you. Yes being good at what you do matters but only up to a point. After that, emotions come into play.

And the truth is, it all happens in first two minutes. The first two minutes usually decide what is going to be the outcome. So look for the signs. You will know.


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