What is it about Monday that makes it so miserable? One thing I know Monday’s weren’t as miserable when I was in college as they are now, when I am working. I guess the reason is simple, reference. Let me try and explain it to you in a bit more detail.

When I was in college we were working mostly. Hard as it may seem, we did not have any holidays, MBA is rigorous and it is said that my school is among the best in the country. We had to sweat it out on most weekends. There was always something pending. In case we got some time free we would go out on a trip. So there was hardly any time to rest. As a result Monday seemed nothing different from other days. Similarly, Friday was the same as any other day.

Now, when I am working, things have changed a lot. Now, Monday comes after 2 days of rest. Hence, it seems miserable. On Friday, on the other hand, the mind knows that 2 days of comfort lie ahead and hence is more ebullient than any other day.

It is a simple principle of contrast. Everything is relative. The previous thing and the next thing has an influence on us. We always compare. Money, Wealth, Education, Beauty, Knowledge, Status, we need a reference point for everything.

When you go out to buy a suit, the price of a shirt may not seem expensive even if it is beyond what you thought it would be. Similarly, the price of cuff links may not even be noticed. Accessories would seem cheaper when you buy a car. Marketers have realized this long back and they make full use of it. Have you ever purchased an year’s subscription of a magazine when you only wanted to buy a single copy just because the full year deal seemed a better saver? Sales people would often show you a poor product at the price you expect alongside with the one they want you to buy. Similar is the case with property dealers. There are so many other examples in the real and the virtual world. Some companies check, how many time does a user takes from searching the product to buying it. If it is not much they would sell it but if it is a lot, the companies know that the user is hesitant and they would give you an instant offer to make the deal more lucrative for you. I could go on and on.

When making a choice, we tend to stick to a mid-range of choices set and ignore the extreme ones. So just adding more items to the choice set can influence our preferences. So, Monday morning would always be miserable as long as Sunday is a holiday.

Sahil Bansal

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