Control

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…

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