Like every other sound person, I am a huge fan of Thai food. So it becomes a dilemma when I must make the very daunting choice of going to the Thai restaurant right next to my house, the far away family owned hole in the wall, or the new pop-up down the street. All of these choices have their own positives and negatives. The one by my house is convenient and time efficient, but not authentics. The far away one is authentic, but travel time is a huge commitment. The new pop-up is a gamble, as it could be a great experience or it could be subpar in terms of my other options. Nevertheless, I would be giving up another option no matter what choice I make.
This then becomes the “explore or exploit” phenomenon. Since I already know I’m bound to get good results by going to the previous two locations, I am comfortable with choosing those options. However, if I choose to go to the new place I could potentially find my new favorite place.
This concept is more abstract than just restaurants. As Josh Kaufman explains in his article, “Explore/Exploit,” the risk of making a new choice can be daunting, but it may garner miles of unseen benefits. Trying something new rather than sticking to what you already know is an option many are not too keen on doing.
Rather than exploring something new, we would rather exploit what we already know. This dilemma is a major hurdle when it comes to learning anything, whether it be a new skill or an important life decision. Making choices is a part of life, and finding the balance between sticking to what we know or making risks is an inevitable gamble.