It is not uncommon for financial institutions to give loans based on an applicant’s capacity to repay. Therefore, the more assets a person has, or the more stable his or her job is, the more probability of getting a loan. Even if one doesn’t have assets or a secure job, he or she should know someone with assets or a secure job to give surety for the loan. We all know that, in reality, the person who doesn’t have assets or stable income has more need of a loan, but the financial institutions don’t work in that fashion. I totally understand the logic, and of course, I know that the operating principle of the financial institutions is not charity. And I am not arguing that charity should be the guiding principle. The purpose of presenting the picture of the financial institutions and the loan applicants’ situation is to introduce the manner in which some people/institutions trust others – they need to be sure of the ability of the person before making a move. This is the same manner in which educational institutions operate. They want to know the applicant’s previous achievements and accordingly honor the applicant with admission and financial offers etc. Please know that I am not against such a strategy, but I wish to move on to provide another manner in which people place trust in others.
There will be times when we cannot make a decision based on pure reasoning. We have to go by the gut feelings. You are stranded somewhere and you need a ride – at that time, you don’t know if the person who is offering you a ride is a saint or a serial killer. I am sure, that is an extreme example. Consider this then: You are in a situation to hire someone, and you are in a dilemma because you have to choose one from two applicants that have similar experience and qualifications. That’s when you resort to gut feelings. (This happens in the context of educational institutions and financial institutions too. But the situation is a little complex in such settings because the gut feelings of different people on the selection board might be different, those gut feelings need to be rationalized to find support from other members of the board and to come to a consensus.) Although the example of the two applicants has slightly diverted my intended point, what is to be understood is that at times when we make decisions based on our gut feelings it seems like we are standing on sinking sand, when compared to the decisions based on sound reasoning. But that’s far from truth.
Neither of the manners in which people operate while placing trust in others is fail proof. Let’s go back to our examples: despite all the care that the financial institutions take, there will be defaulters. Similarly, the decision of the admission committees is prone to questioning when someone highly qualified and with many achievements doesn’t perform well upon joining the academic program. The same kind of possibility of being misdirected by our gut feelings is inevitable. We sometimes end up with a lousy and annoying co-worker because of our choice based on our gut feelings. So, the point is that there is a possibility of error in both instances. Before I conclude, let me remind you that, though I have presented reason and feelings as two opposing forces, it shouldn’t be thought so; they complement each other. Finally, the reason in writing this note at this time of thanksgiving season is to be thankful to all those in my life who have placed their trust in me, either based on my previous achievements or simply based on their gut feelings.