Baba Shiv – TRANSCRIPT
I’m going to start on a slightly somber note. Two thousand and seven (2007), five years ago, my wife gets diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage IIB. Now, looking back, the most harrowing part of that experience was not just the hospital visits – these were very painful for my wife, understandably so. It was not even the initial shock of knowing that she had breast cancer at just 39 years old, absolutely no history of cancer in her family.
The most horrifying and agonizing part of the whole experience was we were making decisions after decisions after decisions that were being thrust upon us. Should it be a mastectomy? Should it be a lumpectomy? Should it be a more aggressive form of treatment, given that it was stage IIB? With all the side effects? Or should it be a less aggressive form of treatment? And these were being thrust upon us by the doctors.
Now you could ask this question, why were the doctors doing this? A simplistic answer would be, the doctors are doing this because they want to protect themselves legally. I think that is too simplistic. These are well-meaning doctors, some of them have gone on to become very good friends. They probably were simply following the wisdom that has come down through the ages, this adage that when you’re making decisions, especially decisions of importance, it’s best to be in charge, it’s best to be in control, it’s best to be in the driver’s seat.
And we were certainly in the driver’s seat, making all these decisions. And let me tell you — if some of you have been there, it was a most agonizing and harrowing experience. Which got me thinking. I said, is there any validity to this whole adage that when you’re making decisions, it’s best to take the driver’s seat, be in charge, be in control? Or are there contexts where we’re far better off taking the passenger’s seat and have someone else drive? For example, a trusted financial advisor, could be a trusted doctor, etc. And since I study human decision making, I said, I’m going to run some studies to find some answers.