Since we all have limited time, energy and resources every decision we make comes with a trade off. Even procrastinating, making no decision and doing nothing is a trade off versus potential action and opportunities.
Making any choice changes the course of our life and collapses potential paths to your future. At any one time we are choosing one path and ending another. We not only pick the one person we will marry but we choose not to marry all the other potential people. When we choose a career path we choose not to have any of the other different careers. Everyday we are trading all the potential future paths for one path.
Every decision has both the value it creates and the opportunity costs of the paths not taken. We can have what we chose to set our mind on if we do the needed work to achieve it but we can’t do everything. Most high powered careers come at the cost of relationships just as indulging in food can come at the cost of your waistline.
A big part of economics is the study of tradeoffs. An economic tradeoff is a situation where one choice leads to losing an alternative reward, benefit or opportunity. Zero-sum games and situations are the best examples of large scale trade offs when a win by one person is a loss by another. Core principles of economic theory is the study of how scarce resources are allocated and opportunity costs are navigated.
Making trade offs to get what we want the most in life is a more efficient process for getting what we want than targeting nothing or pursuing everything. Big success in one area of life comes at some cost of another area. A balanced life can end up making a person mediocre in all areas just like being the best at one thing can come at the cost of being bad at most other things.
All of life is trading.
Everyone is a trader.
Some people trade time for a paycheck.
Some people trade tuition for a degree.
Some people trade risk for profits.
Some trade happiness for security.
Some trade principles for politics.
Some trade ethics for cash.
Everyone trades, few understand this.
“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” – Thomas Sowell
When you pick what you want to win at, you also pick your poison.