In my previous post, we started looking at the issue of how to find your best place to live, your dream location. We covered some topics like the necessity to look at various criteria and data, well-knowing that life is grey. In fact, there is no place on earth that just has positive attributes.
Today, let’s turn to the issue of biases we might encounter in data and their interpretation. Also, we need to recognize the issue of our feelings that might be at odds with our rational analysis.
Biased information and biased interpretation
Analyzing a place and drawing conclusions implicitly assumes that you have access to full and correct information. But this is not ensured at all. Your view might be biased by the type of newspaper you read, stereotypes in your brain due to your education, upbringing, or social media. Alternatively, maybe just a single bad experience with a waiter on your last trip scarred you for life. Moreover, you might misinterpret the many city and country rankings that are out there on the web, especially if their methodology is not made transparent. Lastly, give the same data and information to two different people, and you might get two different interpretations. Be cognizant of this filtering issue. Challenge yourself to different interpretations of available data, then prepare to visit the place with an open mind to get a first-hand experience.
Feelings vs. analysis
Your brain is said to have two sides. Let’s call one the rational side. This is the part that looks at the criteria, your wish list, and the ranking of those criteria. This part of the brain might come up with some decision rule to make sense of it all. Thus, maybe Lima, Peru, comes out on top. You know the city well, you spent time there, you already have made friends. But despite all the arguments for the city, something in your heart or soul tells you that a move there would not be the right thing. You cannot pinpoint the feeling, the anxiousness. It is just there. What now?
Or contemplate the alternative. Berlin, Germany, is the place you have been wanting to move to in order to join the famous start-up scene. You love the people you met including the lawyer who can get you a working visa. There is the urge to go, since you feel that you just belong there. The moving company’s website is already looking at you. But wait, your criteria list tells you something different. Bad weather, high taxes, rising crime, and the likely necessity to speak German seems to make the city a no-go place for you.
Here you have it. Selecting the best place to live in is hard. Your dream location is different from mine. Be honest with yourself and take your time analyzing the options you have – the best decision you can make is to combine cold-blooded rational analysis with listening to your inner feelings about a place and you living there. If both are in sync – just do it. If they are at odds, go back to the drawing board. Be happy, as you learned something about yourself that you can use in the second attempt to find your dream location on this planet earth.
© 2019 Michael Froehls – All Rights Reserved
Photo Credit: © Michael Froehls
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