I remember taking economics and talking about opportunity cost. It was one of the most confusing things to me till my teacher put it as bluntly as possible:
You can stay in bed and sleep, or you can get up and go do something with your life. If you stay in bed, you may miss out on something amazing, if you get out of bed, you may be tired; each has an opportunity cost, you have to determine which is worth more.
I took that conversation to heart, probably more than anything else I was taught in school. It is something that every single day I consider and ask myself when making decisions. Many of us consider this, but probably call it something different. Whether debating an action or making a decision, both have an opportunity cost in the end.
The most relatable—and real—example is something we do every single day and is often what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. Each morning when your alarm goes off, you are given two choices: wake up and get your day going, or to hit snooze. Both of your choices have some kind of cost: on one hand, you will get your day going and get more work done during your day, maybe even go workout or have breakfast with the family. On the other hand, you may end up being extremely tired during the day and could even make a mistake at work or be a little emotional to a loved one.
These are the types of decisions that we consider every single day, hour, and even minute.
When you are at work and the boss comes in yelling at you for the third time about something that was HR’s fault, and you just want to turn around and quit, guess what? Opportunity cost. Can you really afford to quit? Can you really keep going through this?
It does go as deep as the decision to breathe. What are you not doing when you are breathing? It is also as general as eating the apple or eating the slice of cake. Each option has a cost.
This reminds me of the article from Grant Cardone about never washing his Rolls-Royce. He could spend the 20 minutes washing it himself and save $20 or spend the $20 to have someone else wash it while he goes to make $200.
I heard once that there was a 400-trillion to 1 chance of being a human being, that you are more likely to win the state lottery jackpot four times than you are to be here, right now.
Yet we still complain about work when we could be working harder. We complain about Mondays when we could be grinding them out. We complain about sleeping in when we could be working out. But hey, I guess everyone chooses how they see an opportunity cost.
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