Monday, August 6, 2018

I've changed since I said goodbye

I've changed since I said goodbye to my things.

I have more time.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone's else's life. ~ the late Steve Jobs.

How possessions take your time

On December 20, 2014, special limited-edition Suica fare cards were issued to commemorate Tokyo Station's hundredth year in service. 15,000 cards were made available for sale, and the result was bedlam. Bedlam (ˈbɛdləm/noun)
1. a scene of uproar and confusion.
"there was bedlam in the courtroom"
synonyms: uproar, pandemonium, commotion, mayhem, confusion, unrest, furore, upheaval, hubbub, hurly-burly, turmoil, riot, ruckus, tumult, disarray, turbulence;
2. archaic meaning,  an institution for the care of mentally ill people.

More than nine thousand people got in line to buy the Suica cards, and sales had to be suspended on that day. (click here for Suica card)

Television news segments showed the reactions of angry people after sales had been suspended, including children who had been waiting in line so they could obtain the Suica cards to use when they started attending junior high school the following spring. I felt sincerely sorry for all those people who waited in line for hours in the cold weather.

But it is not as if those limited-edition Suica cards offered a 5 percent discount on train fare or used a special material that did not easily break. I would certainly want one if they did. The Muchaesque design is definitely beautiful, but I wonder if this card  was something that everyone simply wanted, not so much as needed

If you decided that the function of the limited-edition cards were exactly the same as the usual cards and ignored them, look at how much time you saved: 

1. The time spent getting to and from Tokyo Station.

2. The time spent waiting in line.

3. The time lost simply feeling angry after being told that sales have been canceled.

4. The time spent controlling your anger.

5. The time spent figuring out what to do next and maybe even planning your next attempt to purchase the card. 

Listen, life is short. It is a shame to waste it because of some material object. 

Less time spent being distracted by the media or by ads.

Whether sitting at home watching TV or stepping outside, we're bombarded by urgent messages through media, ads, and everything else that we come across.

Let's make as much money as we can and build our savings. Let's trim the fat and become slim. Let's get into a good school. Let's live in a nice house. Let's get healthy. Let's compete and win. Let's be more stylish. Let's acquire more knowledge. Let's prepare for disaster.

The film director Tom Shadyac said simply , " In other words, we're no good as we are."

When we practice minimalism, we'll spend less time being distracted by the media or by advertisements because we become aware that we already have everything that we need. And when we feel this way, we can easily ignore most of these messages that cry out to us.

Conversely, if we're constantly thinking that we're missing something in our lives, we'll feel as if all those messages are directed straight at us. If we start to contemplate every one of those messages, we'll never have enough time to do anything. Minimalism is built around the idea that there's nothing that you're lacking. You'll spend less time being pushed around by something or somebody that you think you may be missing.

Less time spent shopping.

 A minimalist does not buy much to begin with so you will spend less time shopping. Though there are bound to be things you need to purchase, it'll take less time to get them. back in my maximalist days, I used to be a big fan of electric appliances. Let's say I wanted to buy a new microwave oven. I would go through the product specifications from different manufacturers with a fine-tooth comb. I'd check all the user reviews on the web. I'd make a comprehensive evaluation and buy a model that allowed me to steam cook at high temperature/ I'd be overjoyed with some feature that was not available in other models from the same price range -- and then never once use that feature when cooking.

I would stop by a chic area of Tokyo and spend a whole day looking for the perfect shirt. Sometimes I'd go from store A to B and on to C, try on different shirts but be unable to decide, go back to store A again but still come back empty-handed. What was the point of my day spent shopping? Did I just go to tire myself out?

There's a famous study called the Jam Study.

The Jam Study is one of the most famous experiments in consumer psychology, and new research to be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology supports the Jam Study’s controversial conclusion; offering consumers less choice can be good for sales. Critically, the study reveals when precisely offering less choice may enhance your sales.

If you’re not familiar with the original Jam Study, it’s here.  Basically, the study, which was conducted at upscale Bay-area supermarket Draeger’s Market by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper, found that consumers were 10 times more likely to purchase jam on display when the number of jams available was reduced from 24 to 6. Less choice, more sales. More choice, fewer sales. Weird, huh?

This phenomenon, replicated in a variety of product categories from chocolate to financial services to speed dating, has come to be known as ‘Choice Overload’ or the ‘Paradox of Choice‘. It’s a paradox because rationally speaking the more choice you offer your customers, the more sales you should make simply because you’ll be satisfying more needs better. But research has showed that choice actually can be demotivating and get in the way of sales. Why?

Psychologically, the Paradox of Choice is not so much of a paradox because the more options you give people, the more time and effort they have to invest in making a choice – something they may not be prepared to do.  Moreover, giving people a smorgasbord of options puts a psychological burden on them because what you are actually doing is giving them more opportunity to make the wrong choice, regret it and blame themselves.

Nevertheless, the Jam Study and follow-up studies has remained controversial;  surely giving your customers more choice must be a good thing, right?  Indeed, a meta-analysis of studies in 2010 found that the inverse link between choice and purchase likelihood is far from consistent.

But now a new study, ‘Choice overload: A conceptual review and meta-analysis‘ by Kellogg researchers at Northwestern University Alexander Chernev and Ulf Böckenholt (and Joseph Goodman) has re-analaysed the data from 99 Paradox of Choice studies and isolated when reducing choices for your customers is most likely to boost sales:
  • When people want to make a quick and easy choice (effort-minimizing goal)
  • When making the right choice matters/you are selling complex products (the decision task is difficult)
  • When you show options that are difficult to compare (greater choice set complexity)
  • When your customers are unclear about their preferences (higher preference uncertainty)
So the Jam Study strikes back; more choice can harm sales – but probably only when one or more of these four criteria are met.

In short, more people purchased jam when six varieties were displayed than when twenty-four  varieties were available. When given too many choices, people tend to worry that there's something better out there than what they decided on. If they buy one of the varieties, their satisfaction level will actually decrease because of this feeling of regret. it gets complicated when there are too many choices available.

As I continue in my journey as minimalist, I've noticed that my criteria for choosing things has become clearer, and as a result, I spend less time wondering  whether or not to buy something. The qualities I look for in the things I buy are 

1. the item has a minimalist type of shape, and is easy to clean;

2. its color is not too loud;

3. I'll be able to use it for a long time;

4. it has a simple structure;

5. it is lightweight and compact; and

6. it has multiple uses.

My choice of a bicycle

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