A: So November already.

B: This is true – it’ll soon be Christmas. A very spiritual time.

A: Soon? Almost 2 months.

B: But it’s closer than it was…..

A: …

B: Anyway, let’s talk about control, or rather the illusion of control.

A: Go for it.

B: There was an experiment carried out with lottery tickets 30 years ago.

A: They had lottery tickets 30 years ago?

B: Apparently. So, where was I?

A: Ellen Langer’s lottery ticket experiment.

B: Ah yes. So, half the subjects were allowed to choose their own tickets…

A: And the other half were just given their tickets?

B: Correct. Each ticket cost 1 dollar.

A: An American dollar.

B: Correct again.

A: And the experiment….

B: Oh yes. Then the subjects were offered money to but their tickets.

A: I see. So they were offered money for their dollar lottery tickets.

B: They were. The average price the subjects accepted for the forced choice was $1.96.

A: Not a bad profit on a dollar. But what about the people who chose their own tickets?

B: Well that was interesting.

A: Oh why?

B: Well even though the tickets had the same chance of winning the subjects were reluctant to give them up.

A: Even for more money?

B: Even for more money.

A: So the average price for the people who had chosen their own tickets was…

B: $8.67.

A: Wow.

B: Exactly. Even though there was exactly the same change of winning they were a lot more reluctant to sell.

A: I see. And this tells us…..

B: People are deluded. They think they have a choice but they haven’t. Stop kidding yourself. Life is predetermined. Don’t bother fighting it. We’re born. We live. We die.

A: An interesting conclusion to draw. May I suggest something about ownership and choice?

B: I see. So you feel that if you give people some choice they will take more ownership.

A: Something like that. Just look at Deal or No Deal.

B: I see. So in change management terms you can pretend people have a choice and that’ll help you. For instance if you give them 3 options where 2 are rubbish they’ll be left with the one you want and they’ll think they chose it. And they’ll be more likely to implement it?

A: Not exactly what I had in mind.

B: Oh?

A: Well it’s never a good to manipulate people is it?

B: Why not?

A: Well on a spiritual level it’s bad karma.

B: And on a non-spiritual level?

A: When they find out they’ll be really naffed off and will more than likely want to give you a slap.

B: Point taken.

A: So. It’s a useful insight into perceived choice, ownership and perhaps something about not wanting to let go off something.

B: Even some aspects of luck and a feeling inside that says “I choose that ticket, so it’s part of me, It’s my destiny.” in a kind of back to listening to that inner voice, living in a forest, dancing in the moonlight, semi-spiritual way.

A: Ah no…


Published by: byron kalies

Writer, golfer and golf writer, I have developed and moved on (not permanently in case there are any publishers reading this) from the relatively straightforward world of management consultancy with motivation, leadership, change matrices, decision making, communication, customer care, bottom lines, double-loop learning, stress, attribution theory, behavioural interviewing, project management, group think and Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web, to the complex and unfathomable world of describing places where people can hit a ball into a hole. I have written for a number of golf magazines and newspapers including 'Golf International' , 'wales on Sunday' and am currently golf correspondent for Cambria Magazine (Wales's Magazine) and blogger for Wales Online.

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