The car that I drive was "previously owned" or sometimes called used. It is a very nice car (BMW 5-series) that had relatively low miles on it when I bought it 2 years ago. Unfortunately, after a few years and 50K miles, the car has been giving me seemingly endless little problems.
Sometimes I think that my car spends more time at the mechanic than it does with me. It’s not that the car is a lemon, but rather it’s growing older and regular items now need to be replaced (it’s currently in the shop for a new headlight that suddenly went out this week).
There Is a little voice inside of me that tells me it’s time to purchase a new car and be done with all the little problems that constantly plague my current car. The problem that I’m wrestling with however, is that the money I’m putting into my current car each month is still far less than what a car payment for a similar vehicle would be (I drive too many miles to lease so this would not really work for me).
I feel like the contestant on the old TV show "Let’s Make a Deal" where people were asked by the host to choose between door number two and what’s behind the curtain where Carol Merrill is standing...no desicions are ever easy...
My children’s grandfather, who worked for AT&T many years ago, once explained to me that the phone company management asked themselves three simple questions before making any major decisions.
I find that these are excellent questions that need to be answered before making any substantial decisions.
The "it" in the above set of questions can be life changing decisions such as getting married, buying a house, choosing a career path, starting a family, changing jobs, starting or buying a business, or deciding the fate of a loved one who is unable to make rational decisions on their own. The it can also be more mundane decisions like whether or not to buy a new car rather than keep the old one.
- Why do it at all?
- Why do it this way?
- Why do it at this time?
Some people agonize over making big decisions (especially in a business setting) and find that they constantly need additional information to make better and better decisions (sometimes this is called "paralysis by analysis") while others rely on their gut instinct and hope for the best.
Another approach to decision making is to use the "Benjamin Franklin" method. This method involves making two columns and labeling them "pros" and "cons". Then all of the relative pros and cons are added to the table.
Once this is completed, a weight is then assigned to each of the points.
For example, as I’m considering the purchase of a new car, I might weigh the safety features of the new car slightly higher than the expected lower annual registration costs of the old car.
Once all the factors are weighted, than a rational and calculated decision can be made.
The Benjamin Franklin method might be a good way to purchase a new car or perhaps hire a new accountant, but it doesn’t really account for the emotional decisions that sometimes need to be made, such as the future quality of life for a loved one on life-support. These are agonizing decisions that weigh heavily upon the soul and conscience of those needing to make these considerations.
I was just talking with a very good customer this very morning who was in the unavoidable position of having to make a decision about life-support for his own mother who is suffering greatly. My heart and prayers goes out to his family, as they weigh all of their options and hopefully make a decision that is best for his mother and his family.
Many times, decisions aren’t easy to make but we do so because they can’t be avoided. This is life (and sometimes death).
My mother recently lost her mother...but became a great-grandmother this past Saturday for the first time...it’s the circle of life that makes us appreciate the relatively short time we walk on this earth.
I think that I’ll keep my old car for a bit longer and appreciate the fact that I don’t need to make any really hard decisions for the moment...
...that is unless there’s a new car waiting for me behind door number two...
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