We set out at about 5.45am. I’m wearing running gear from head to toe. The birds are chirping and it’s cold and misty. It feels good.
Our pace increases after we climb the little hill and join Thika Road. There’s another runner ahead of us. By now we’ve gotten used to the common faces. We know who runs and who just makes a show of it. I steal a glance as we pass her. I’ve not seen this one before.
The asphalt is still wet, and there’s no traffic on Thika road yet. It feels esoteric. Like the scene in Burnt, where Bradley Cooper is alone in the kitchen shucking oysters at dawn. Or that moment, in All the Light We Cannot See when Werner is about to jump from the platform at Essen as the pale ring of faces stares at him below.
Levine is faster. I say it’s because he’s Teso. People from that side have well-lubricated kneecaps. He takes long strides, but I still stay in sync with him. It just happens – we run at the same pace from Roysambu to Githurai, accelerating or decelerating depending on the terrain. If any of us lags behind, he makes an effort to catch up. We don’t slack. Sometimes, when I am in a good mood, I’ll sprint without warning until I run out of breath and slow down. Then he’ll catch up and do the same.
Levine introduced me to running. The first day I didn’t finish the entire stretch. I only made it halfway and started feeling lightheaded. Then later when I got back home, I didn’t even shower. I went straight to bed and within minutes I was deep asleep. I was out for three hours straight. Now I’ve gotten used to it. I even started looking forward to running.
I was recently watching a lecture by an investment banker from Goldman Sachs at University of Virginia’s School of Law. He said that no matter how hard you worked, you had to have a baseline. Something that you do daily to keep you grounded. That you have to do no matter where you are or how busy you are. He said that running is what keeps him grounded. No matter how many hours he has slept, he must run. Casey Neistat does it too.
So far, the days I’ve woken up early to run have been the most productive. It’s also a good chance for me to have a face to face conversation with Levine. As a freelancer, working indoors will leave your craving real conversations, real human contact.
Today we talked about how to make good decisions. About the mistakes we make, such as anchor traps and getting stuck in the sunken cost of previous bad decisions.
Let me explain.
“Do you think the population of Turkey exceeds fifty million?”
Or better yet. “What’s your rough estimate of the population of Turkey?”
For most people, the answer to the second question is closely related to the figure mentioned in the first question. If I’d asked whether the population of Turkey exceeds 100 million, most people would have estimated it to be a figure close to one hundred million.That’s an anchor trap. The first impression (the first question) leaves you blind to other alternatives to your problem. You can’t think out of the box when making other decisions (second question).
This trick is also used by savvy negotiators. They’ll start the negotiations with the terms they want, and draw you towards them. You go to the market to buy a shoe. When you’ve finally gotten the one you want, the seller quotes a price that’s way higher than the normal market prize. Usually even higher than what you’d budgeted for.
Then you adjust your purchasing power based on his prize, and he gets the better part of the deal. You don’t see other alternatives because your decision is pegged on the price he initially stated. In this case, the other option was to state the prize you initially had in mind, regardless of the amount he quotes. If you’re Kenyan, you know that negotiating is a skill that often comes in handy in this country. You also know how bad it feels to walk away feeling like a loser.
The lesson here is to never be a victim of anchor traps. Don’t stick to the status quo.
As Jay-Z says, Question religion, question it all. Question existence until them questions are solved.
So, you made a bad decision in the past and are facing the consequences now. Such as hiring a poor performer, hoping you’d change him or make him more productive. After trying your best, he’s still not showing any signs of improvement. You contemplate about letting him go. You keep postponing as he uses more company resources. It’s because you’re still stuck to the sunken cost of hiring the wrong person. You don’t want to be seen as the guy in H.R who hires bad people.
Investors do the same when trying to rescue a bad investment, even when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Pumping more money into a company that’s definitely going bust, is a sign that you’re stuck to the sunken cost incurred after your investment took a nose dive. Well, it might be possible to rescue it, but at what cost?
It’s normal to make a bad decision once in a while. But’s it’s better to learn how to prevent them and keep going so that you can recover after a loss. Don’t get stuck in the past.
I finally make it back home at 6:30 am. I shower, then make breakfast. I eat as Asap Rocky plays in the background and once am done; I sit down to write this. The birds are chirping. My tea is just the way I like it. No one is awake yet. What a beautiful day!