I enjoy applying broad strokes to a situation or a multitude of situations. Because broad strokes represent a holistic view, a generally good understanding of the situation(s) and an ability to connect the dots. The details sure matter, but not necessarily when you apply broad strokes.

My fundamental belief is that economics explain just about everything in this world. Like the first example you come across when you read Freakonomics (change in abortion laws affecting crime-rates in the country), everything can be explained by supply and demand. Let me take a couple of rudimentary examples. Why is there first class in airplanes? Because fewer people can afford it — if everyone starts buying first class tickets, it will lose its flair. Why are there HOV lanes in freeways? Because fewer people share rides. If everyone starts sharing rides, HOV lanes won’t make sense any longer. Whether it is simple things like these OR complex financial instruments, they can be explained by simple economics and concepts of supply/demand.

However, I also think there is one more factor that is as profound if not more telling, in explaining why people behave the way they do. It is called conditioning. If you have done something in a particular way yesterday, chances are you will do it the same way today. If you have been doing it the same way for the past 10 years, chances are you ceased to challenge yourself on why you are doing it or if there is another way of doing it. Doing something the same way gives us stability, predictability and assurance of the path of least effort (change resistance). But more than anything, it shuts our brains to ask the simple why.