Gabriel and I are hunting for our first apartment to purchase. I’d love to stay in Astoria, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Astoria is so nice. I can walk around by myself at night and not feel scared. There are good grocery stores nearby and an amazing variety of restaurants. It just feels like a happy place.
There is another reason why I’m not in love with the idea of moving to Manhattan. A few years ago, I went to a chi-chi networking event, and a young investment banker sneered at me for not living in Manhattan. I was so surprised that anyone would behave that way that I honestly didn’t understand it, even as I left the event and burst into tears while walking towards the subway.
Feeling lost, I called a friend who happens to be a former top-tier investment banker, and told him what happened. “Where does he work?” he asked. I named the bank, and he immediately started snickering.
“If he works there, then he probably doesn't make that much money.”
Look, the moral of the story is not to snicker at the sneerer. However, it is helpful to point out that in the bigger scheme of things, for every person who is snobby because he or she lives in Manhattan, there is a billionaire with several homes around the world and a fleet of vehicles who has no idea that that person exists.
Still, something in me feels a little protective of myself when I check out apartments in the Upper East Side. I am middle class. I want everyone to feel that it’s okay not to have a ton of money, because it is.
My mom keeps reminding me that Manhattan real estate is the smarter investment even as I steer her towards properties in Queens and Brooklyn. All things considered, she is right, and making an intelligent decision does not mean that anything about me is changing.
Elegance is defined by Google as the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple. I love elegant solutions, and I can recognize one when I see one. There is one right in front of me as I consider apartments, and my emotions are having a knee-jerk reaction against it. They are screaming, I WANT TO STAY FAR, FAR AWAY, I WANT TO STAY IN MY HAPPY PLACE, ASTORIA OR BROOKLYN!
However, if I listen to the part of my mind and my brand that loves elegant solutions, I know that the correct decision is to make an investment that is lower in risk and higher in return.
Listening to emotions is important, but they must be used in a constructive way. That is, emotions should not be allowed to impede strong decision-making. For brands, and in general, this necessitates taking values into account, not impulses.
In this case, I can reconcile emotion with logic by reminding myself that no matter what happens in my life, I will always be middle class because my values are middle class, and that I will never, ever behave like that person at the networking event.
Do you think that the core values of your brand were affected by your circumstances while growing up?