Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before - Mae West
This,for some reason, came up as the funny quote today. It was probably funny in context of the situation Mae West said it. But by itself, its a smart statement. Its practical. Given a choice, I would always take the unknown one. Simply because it is not so much of evil as it is a perception of evil. While the other choice is a known evil. The chances of it springing a surprise and being a non-evil (?) are slim.
Making choices on the basis of expected rewards and punishments is crucial for survival. But if the rewards and punishments are known to a fair degree in one of the choices, the chances of it being picked are more. People like to play safe. Or at least they think they are playing safe. They are comfortable with the known evil, because they think it will not get worse from here. And by doing so, they close themselves to the possibility of getting something better in the other choice. Since you don't know really, you cannot rule out that the other (perceived) evil may not be so after all. And mind you, even if both choices are evil with their advantages (again,perceived), there may be a pleasant, not bargained for surprise in the unknown one. And there is that question: what would have happened if……
Whenever i have moved to a new company, i have always had someone or the other telling me “that's not a good company” or “that industry is not doing great” or “ U’ll do the same thing there” kind of things. It always boiled down to the choice I had – the comfort of the known evil I was with or the chance of better life with the unknown evil. I do not regret picking up the unknown choices i have picked so far.
Having said that, the choice between a comfortable job for some other company or starting up a new company of my own will be the real test for me. At least in this context. Because even if there is the challenge, the chance of success and riches and all that – there is always the practical consideration of a salary at the end of the month to pay all the bills.
In cases where choices are to be made for a life partner, most people prefer the easier known evil. This is actually funny – you are making a life altering decision, knowing very well this choice is definitely trouble!!! But then there is an emotional angle involved in the decision making and smartest of people have been known to make the dumbest of decisions when that happens. I am sure I'll go the unknown evil way again.