My cheap gas disappointment #33(01/30/2020)

Letters of a Hugh Sam #33

Dear Reader,

Last sunday, I actually recorded my very first YouTube video and was planning on releasing it that very day, but as everyone should know by now, something very tragic happened that day. Kobe died.

I don't want to get into too much details about this event so let's just say that it affected me quite a bit. Even more than I thought it would have. Rest in Peace, Kobe Bryant. You were a legend in basketball and someone to look up to in your personal life.

With that being said, I will definitely post my first YouTube video this week so stay tuned for that.

Let's get itt.

On Tuesday evening, I was in the bus, coming back from work and I realized that gas was pretty cheap today. It was 116.9 and a few months back, I remember the average being about 122-123 everywhere I went. Since I always head out for my badminton practices using my mom's car, I decided that it'll be good if I took advantage of this exceedingly low price and put some gas in the car even though the tank was only half empty.

So around 7:30pm, I went to that particular Ultramar and filled up the tank. 29$ for about half the tank. "Not bad !", I told myself.

I can say that I was fairly happy about my purchase since the day before, Monday, I thought about putting gas @117.9, but decided not to and my mom scolded me about it saying that it was going to go up to 126.9 or something. (Decidedly, she was very wrong about this lmao)

Anyway, I was driving south towards my badminton practice when I saw another gas station, a Shell one to be specific, looked at the price and saw 115.9 😯. At first, I was like "damn, I should have gassed here instead", but then, I remembered that that particular Shell only had old pumps and I had to go at the counter to pay. Being the lazy motherfudger I am, I thought to myself that paying 116.9 without having to go to the counter was more worth it than paying 115.9 and going to the counter. So I continued along, still happy with my purchase.

But suddenly, about a 8 minutes drive further, in the distance, I could see another Ultramar coming up ahead. Of course, instinctively, I looked at the price. 113.9. 😧 😧 😮 😲 🤬 🤯

I WAS SHOOK. You can tell by looking at the sequence of emojis that I was in total disbelief ! I could have paid 3 cents cheaper per liter here !! And it was only a 12 minutes drive away from my initial gas station. After that, I stayed pissed for about 10 minutes and then completely forgot about it.

"Humm.. cool story bro" is what you want to say right?

Well it is a cool story because it contains a very valuable lesson about learning to set your own expectations vs basing your expectations on external factors.

In this situation, I set out to gas my car and, in my mind, I simply thought about gassing at the cheapest price possible. Consequently, when I managed to get my gas at 116.9, I was thrilled because I knew that it was cheaper than the usual average. However, by introducing the external factor of a cheaper alternative (the ultramar @113.9), what was suddenly a "happy" experience for me, became a disappointing one.

This is, of course, a very trivial situation and I don't think it caused me much harm; however, I think we often tend to put ourselves in similar situations that may lead to a certain degree of unhappiness.

One such situation is when we talk about salaries with our friends. You get a new job and you're thrilled because you got offered a 60k salary, 10k more than at your previous job. Obviously, you're really happy about your offer and so, you accept it. Then, you get to talking to your friends, whom share the same job as you, and you discover that they're getting paid 75k for a similar job 😧. Suddenly, your little 60k seems very low and you end up feeling not that great about it anymore.

So how do I try to remedy this situation? Well, I simply try to set a personal expectation and as long as that expectation is met, then I'm happy with it.

In the gas example, maybe before heading out, I can tell myself that if I gas at a price lower than 120, then it's a good purchase. So now that my expectation has been set, no matter if I gassed at 118.9, 116.9 or 113.9, then I'm happy because those prices all satisfy what I wanted.

Finally, in the salary expectation case, I can probably calculate my monthly expenses and come up with a number that would allow me to pay off all my expenses and keep money for spending and saving. Let's say 65k. Now, when I get offered 70k, 5k more than my expectation, then I'll be happy about it. And if my friends get paid 90k or even 100k, then sure, good for them. I can be happy for them knowing that my needs are met with my salary of 70k.

Remember: Try to always set your own expectations instead of setting expectations based on external factors.

Alright, that's it for me ! Hope you enjoyed.

P.S I'll be leaning towards a more "story-telling" newsletter like this so if you don't like these, feel free to unsubscribe anytime 🤷‍♀️

2020 Goals Progression 💪

  1. 0 / 1250 YouTube subscribers

  2. Be happy at work (Y or N)

  3. 5 / 51 newsletters

  4. 12 / 25 substack subscribers

  5. 0 / 2 Trips (1 of Iceland, South America, Scandinavia or Eastern Europe)

  6. 3 / 13 books (The Three-Body Problem, Factfulness, Never Give Up (Jackie Chan))

  7. 0 / 3 realized ideas


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We'll talk more next Thursday, until then, have a nice week ! ✌️

— Nicholas