How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
I've always enjoyed auctions and have bought everything from chairs to cars there. It's almost as much fun to go along and watch the casual-frantic poker-faced bidders trying to put off their rivals.
The psychology of auctions is a tricky old business. Not the myths about scratching your nose and buying a Van Gogh, but the way they can draw you in, wind you up and tempt you to pay way over the odds.
When you make a bid, for a short while it seems as if the item is yours. In effect, you have closed on it before you have actually bought it. Someone else putting in a higher bid thus seems like theft, as they steal that ownership baton away. Indignant and affronted, your righteous response is to do the same to them, taking back your possession. And, to make matters worse, this happens in full public view, where the shame and pride of losing or winning is multiplied manifold.
Scarcity is another principle at work in auctions. When things are rare we often want them more and, when there is only one, this principle is multiplied again. When it's one chance, all or nothing, we are seriously tempted to go for it, big-time.
Looking at e-Bay, these principles seem to work well online as well as in the more traditional auction houses. We will thus merrily duel with people we will never meet. Perhaps this is no surprise: just think of the daily and fierce competition on the roads. We are a successfully competitive species and love a good fight, especially if there is little chance of real harm.
And so the bidding war gets driven by psychology more than real value. There is value in over-bidding, but this is usually a transient glow as the winner achieves the satisfaction of final closure and vanquishing the accursed foe. Sadly, this high may well later be followed by the low of repenting at leisure in 'buyer's remorse'.
So. If you love the buzz of the saleroom or the final seconds of a timed, online auction, beware. Step outside yourself before you bid and look objectively at what is going on (particularly in your head). And before you get carried away: think!
I just found out, that I'm not
thinking at all. When I talk to others, when I work, and so on - everything is
90 % unconsciousness automatic learned behavior. When I do think, I need to be
alone, not-disturbed and concentrated. How can I achieve what I thoughtfully
prepared before? Have always presented step-by-step written-down guide and check
if I follow it or if I deviate it through emotional behavior?
Doing subconsciously what your conscious mind wants is often a matter of repetition and learning. Like actors on the stage, after a while the words appear when they are needed.
Doing anything consciously when you are emotionally aroused is difficult and again can be improved with practice. Go to the auction, and try small things, like early bidding when you are unlikely to buy anything. Practice stopping (which is often difficult). Practice stepping outside and looking at yourself.
Buying at an auction is
such a competitive environment that there is little chance to stop and reason.
The thinking goes on before the auction when a smart buyer develops a strategy;
this can be the outside looking in thinking described above. One such strategy
is to be the third bidder in late in the competition. Coming in late has the
effect of surprising the two fierce competitors that it can cause them to step
down. Doesn't work all the time but when it does it really surprises bidders
(perhaps causing them to stop and think) One thing for sure is that you'll find
out if any of the bidders are willing to go beyond what the item is actually
Hi my name is jessica i have a pair of ballet point shoes signed my patrick Swayze, saying on them love patrick Swayze, in permenit marker in red ,can you tell me what is the best price i can get for them,i also have pictures of him from my camra when he came to winnipeg manitoba him and his wife to make a movie ,my daughter was in the movie him and his wife played.
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