In Economics, there is the idea of opportunity cost. This is the potential gain that you will never see when choosing one option over the other. There is no way to avoid this potential loss. Decisions have to be made and once made, the decider can wonder if he made the right choice and if he could have done better.
The show Deal or No Deal eliminates this factor by sharing with its player the final outcome of the game after the deal is made. If a player accepts a deal from the banker before that final round, Howie makes them say which case they would have picked next. The player continues to show how he would have played, seeing the offers from the banker, until he makes it to the case he chose at the beginning of the show. At this point, Howie either tells him that he made a good deal or a bad deal. What’s unfortunate about this is that, a lot of times, people get nervous and make a deal prematurely. In many cases, the deal made is thousands of dollars less than the amount in the case.
Games like this thrive on our indecisiveness. It is easy to either convince people to play it so safe that they settle for a small deal, or to push them further and further until they eliminate all of the big deals and walk away with $100. I believe this is much like real life. This example could apply to many of the important choices we are forced to make in our lifetime. Do you go to community college on a scholarship and end up staying in that town for the rest of your life, or do you go off to an Ivy League school, taking on an incredible amount of debt, in the hopes that you will make a lot of money in your career.
Either choice could leave you wondering what your life would be like if you chose differently. There will always be a fear of the unknown, whatever choice we make. What’s important is to make informed decisions that make you happy. In the scenario above either choice could make someone happy. The person who stayed in his home town might have a great life. Similarly, the person who chose to leave might have done really well for himself. Neither of them have an objectively better life. When we make choices and take opportunities that make sense for how we want our lives to progress, then we don’t have to worry about the opportunity cost because we can be confident that we are where we are supposed to be.