As Mark Reiter writes in The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything, Bracketology is a way of seeing the world so that we can become more enlightenedabout what we like, favor, prefer, abhor, or abjure. If you follow these simple rules you can use bracketology to figure out just about anything, from the best Kanye song of all time to naming your firstborn child.
How to Use Bracketology in Everyday Life
1. Weigh the Strengths
At their core, brackets force you to make a this-or-that decision. But all the options arent equal, so you need to do a bit of research and thinking. Let's say you can't decide who to take on a date to a baseball game. Option A has lots of sports knowledge but is a little less social than Option B (whose own interest in baseball is fairly low). You've got to weigh their strengths given the scenario, and your own priorities. Sounds like it's anybody's game. (Also, we hope you aren't debating 64 potential dates, but if so, goooood luck.)
2. Give Yourself a Deadline
Try turning in your NCAA bracket a day late, and see what the person managing your office pool says. (S/he'll say "no.") The NCAA tournament has a definitive start time and if you cant make your bracket decisions by then, youre kaput. If youre just as strict with, say, vacation plans, then youre more likely to find a great destination and a good rate on lodging and airfare alike. More than anything, you aren't making a bracket to waste precious time. You're doing it to make an educated, winning decision. Budget time for your research, and once armed with the knowledge, act swiftly.
3. Embrace the Upset
As great as it is to have all your choices arranged in seeds, life isnt always that neat. Most basketball fans know that its smart to pick at least one 12-seed to knock off a higher-ranked 5-seed. Picking a lunch destination is no different: On paper, that street meat gyro may not stand a chance against the gourmet turkey club sandwich, but the 10-deep line for gyros tells you that there's something you may be missing. Victory will taste ever sweeter when it comes as surprise. Go ahead, take a gamble when you aren't entirely certain.
4. Have a Tiebreaker
It will likely never come down to this, but the idea of having everything hinge on one completely arbitrary and ridiculous decision is part of what makes filling out a bracket so fun. Can't decide whose familyyours or hersto visit over the holidays? We dare you to leave it up to chance.
5. Don't Abandon Your Loyalties...but Sometimes Abandon Them
Just like some crazy fools will always pick their alma mater to win the tournament, you've got to consider your patriotism: It might be worth compromising glorious victory (e.g. having that dreamy Labor Day vacation in Hawaii), if your ego and reputation are at stake (e.g. attending your cousin's wedding in Hoboken). Maybe refer back to Tip #1 and give it a good think.