what drives people to make immediate decisions?

typically people make immediate decisions when some “resource” becomes scarce or is at stake. to narrow the scope of “resources”, i’m just going to focus on “time” in this post. for example, during exam week, all the procrastinators are studying, because the “resource” of time is at stake. once time runs out they’ll have to take their exams. a “non-procrastinator” typically realizes the scarcity of time much before a “procrastinator”. so, a person makes the immediate decision to study depending on how scarce he or she perceives the amount of time to be.

other resources that successful people usually consider are opportunity costs and wealth (not money).

the irrational part: each one of these resources can always be perceived as scarce in any context.

going back to the example of the procrastinator and exam week – if the person perceives that he or she does not have enough time two months before exam week, rather than two weeks before exam week, they are likely to start studying at the earlier time rather later.

the same goes for wealth. if a person perceives that he or she has a limited amount of wealth, regardless of how much wealth it is, then that person is likely going to use it in a way much different from a person who perceives their wealth as unlimited. (side point: the top 100 wealthiest people in the world perceive wealth to be a vanishing resource. meaning, they use it in an effective and efficient way and don’t hold it. if they held, it would vanish. if they used it improperly, they would lose more than what they spent. that’s their perception.)

opportunity cost: simple answer – look at tim ferriss’s blog and read his book “the 4 hour work week”. this relates to the resource of time. however, rather than focusing on how a person spends their time doing something, this relates to the number opportunities a person opens for his or herself in the long-run.