Optionality and the Need for Certainty


2020 triggered all kinds of emotions – whether it was related to COVID, the election, social issues, or the market crash, we all experienced our own rollercoaster ride.
It’s not easy to be stoic and levelheaded in the face of chaos, especially when it is so relentless.
Everyone experienced some form of trauma.
Trauma triggers trauma.
As a result, people came face-to-face with issues they hadn’t dealt with properly before.



This had a profound impact on the choices made in the heat of the moment.
It might seem like a stretch to say that a big reason people decided to FOMO buy a house this past year was because of repressed emotions, but I believe the connection is quite strong.
People ran scared, not only from the coronavirus, but from themselves.
A friend said it best recently:
“People have not yet learned to make a home in themselves.”
Tony Robbins has a philosophy that there exists 6 core human needs.
At the top of the list is “Certainty”, which you might also refer to as stability.
When this core need was denied last year people begin to desperately seek it out, mostly unaware what was driving their behavior.
The solution countless people chose, was to buy a home.
However, in those types of moments we need to remain grounded, and find a home in ourselves first.
Tony defines the human need of certainty, as “the assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure”.


Assurance comes by having optionality.
If you are in a burning building you are going to have far less certainty of your survival if all the fire exits are blocked.
Optionality was something a lot people had for most of 2020, especially those with the capacity to go buy a home.
Ironically they traded that in, giving up the very thing they were seeking, certainty, for an illusion of it.
There will no doubt be a wave of people who read this that want to give me their version of why they paid a premium to buy a home when it changed very little in their lives.
Outside a health crisis I would have the same perspective about buying a primary residence.
I have even written on my blog about why buying property that doesn’t generate positive cash flow is a liability and is not how to build wealth in real estate.



It also doesn’t provide the type of stability most people think.
So, now what?
Well, after you are done draining your savings on renovations and new furniture maybe you’ll have the time, and the lack of mobility, that you can start building a home in yourself.
Let me know what you thought about this perspective in the comments below, or on my Instagram post

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