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Today I received a cheque for £42 in the post, a small royalty payment for a couple of pictures used in a magazine. It isn’t much is it, £42? That’s about the price of two litres of scotch. I decided not to see it that way, reasoning that getting a cheque for £42 is £84 better than getting a bill for £42. That’s four litres of scotch. And that led me on to the old matter of perception again.
Let’s suppose you’re hit with an unexpected problem which costs you £1,000 to put right, and then a week later you win £1,000 on the lottery. You’d feel lucky, wouldn’t you? You’d see the win as Dame Fortune smiling on you, reimbursing you for the unforeseen expenditure.
But suppose it happened the other way round – you get the win first, but then have to spend it on the unforeseen problem. You’d be likely to think ‘just when I win some money, it gets taken away from again.’ How ruled we are by perception and accidents of timing.