Make or Break – Paradox of Choice

I decided to take a break from writing my usual tech/cyber related stuff and focus on other topics of interest. For the longest time, I have always been fascinated by the faculty of the mind, understanding mental patterns and how to “optimise” thinking. This article stemmed from my conversations over the weekends, as well as deciphering recent turn of events which perhaps, may serve as a guide to others. This article of more towards decision-making, behavioural analysis and how human-social interaction makes a difference in day to day situations.

When it comes to a point where one has to decide, the choice to make is almost binary in 90% the time. The choice to be made is always around either make, or break. Some might argue that it’s non-linear or non-binary as not making a decision is a decision itself. In a macro-context, non-decision can still be clubbed into either make or break, depending on the situation. If non-decision keeps the status quo, it is deemed as make. However, if non-decision leads to erosion and destruction, one becomes complicit and the choice is obviously break. Hence for the simplicity of this article, the choices are focused around make or break.

Make, in simple terms, is making decision that supports the notion. Example, when a person is arguing with his friend over which food to buy and share, going through the choice of make meaning that the person “gives in” or “gives way” for the other. Make promotes keeping the relationship alive, putting the interest of others above self, and often seen as being submissive at the interest of others. Simply put, to keep the relationship alive and healthy, one does anything necessary to support that relationship.

Break, on the other hand, can be simply the direct opposite of make. If make is selfless, then break becomes self oriented. While make is giving in, break means putting self above others, making sure one’s need and choices are met and honoured. Break promotes “my way or the highway”, putting self preference above others, making it known to everyone and will not hesitate to walk away when the situation is unfavourable.

Is the choice of make or break seamless? It primarily depends on a few factors. Firstly, is the default predisposition of the person. If the person is naturally accommodating and group oriented, then make will be an obvious choice. If the person is deemed to be hard headed, the natural choice is break. Secondly, equation of power. A person of higher authority tends to be break more than make, whereas those in the lower ranks tend to be make at the reason of self preservation. This can be further differentiated on the traits of manager versus a leader. Thirdly, level of patience tend to influence choice of either make or break.

Each choice has its own pro’s and cons. Let’s dive into it.

Make promotes growth. Makes keeps the relationship alive and creates situation for longevity. In the general view, make seems more positive. Make is the choice of most people to agree and go with the flow. Make moves forward, keeps it alive. But make can have devastating effect. In Stockholm syndrome, choice of make by the victim is caused by the sense of belonging and attachment to the abuser, creating a negative net relationship. Hence, abusive relationships continue due to the mental attachment towards sense of belonging and fear of being alone. Stanford Prison experiment showed the relationship between the prisoners and withstanding the abuse of the wardens, despite the prisoners actually being free people who willingly participate in the experiment. Choice of make is often seen by many as a non-alternative or submissive, but in actual fact may be the effort of the individual doing his/her best to keep the relationship alive.

Break seems like a cut and dry approach. “My way or the highway”. I want my choice or its no go. Break seems authoritarian, and at times the ultimate decision. Break creates a constant state of watchfulness, being aware of what the person wants. A person with predominantly break mindset will be deemed as selfish, or self centered, looking at his/her own preference. If make is the submissive partner, then break is the dominant partner. Choice of break seems harsh and at times, rude, but break is the choice for those who has had enough practicing make and decides that for once, one’s self need is necessary.

Make and break works in pairs. Someone wants to break will need someone who wants to make. Otherwise, those who makes have a better social outreach compared to those who primarily breaks. In a master/slave relationship, the balance of power actually resides with the slave. Without a slave, master does not have anyone to dominate.

In work environment, the make choice is usually by lower ranking personnels, whereas break is practiced by management. When a lower ranking staff is unhappy or decides to do something about their career, the break opportunity happens when he/she tender her resignation, or puts in a transfer request out of the section.

Guiding decision making using these choices depends on factors influencing the decision and its outcome. In essence, the choice is really between make or break, in any situation. Life, in its own journey, is a culmination of makes and breaks. The paradox of choice here, is more than just 2 options dependent on the intended or perceived outcome of those choices. In our limited wisdom, we tend to see it from our own views, but not a bird’s eye view of choice and outcome.

“If you ask me to jump, I’ll see you down there!”