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We live on top of Kirra Hill. Wikipedia tells me that we have settled on top of one of the world’s most famous surf breaks. The sand is pure white, the sky so brightly blue and the ocean sparkles between a brilliant turquoise and crystal holographic rainbow when the Sun shines on it in just the right way. I don’t quite know how we got so lucky (actually yes I do, it wasn’t luck it was vision, focus and taking the actions to make dreams come true…but that is a whole other Sunday Session)

As we splashed around in the waves today, a blue bottle jellyfish wrapped itself around my arm and left a nasty sting. I mean, it’s not a Great White Shark but it is enough to make me leap out of the water.

Sitting on the beach with Masa, he said to me, “There’s always a trade-off, isn’t there?” “Look at where we get to live and how much time we get to spend at the beach, but nothing is perfect, the blue bottles are a good reminder of that” I laughed, even though the pain of the sting was searing up through my armpit and making me feel a little woozy. “Yeah, I guess you are right”

It got me to thinking a lot about trade-offs. The things you have to do or sacrifice in order to get what you really want.

There is a huge misconception that when you start up a business or take on a creative project that you either succeed or fail. You either get the house, the money, the car, the clients, the perfect life, the profits, the goals and whatever else OR you don’t.

It is simply not that black and white. That’s the exciting part about it all.

In senior economics, I learned about a term that would change my perspective on everything. Opportunity Cost. It’s when you have to make a choice between two alternatives. The cost is the loss of the alternative you don’t pick. When you make a trade off the thing that you don’t choose is the opportunity cost.

I guess it’s a little different to the blue bottle situation. Mas was suggesting that the trade-off for living in a such a spectacular part of the world is that you have to put up with some stuff like blue bottles. Opportunity Cost, however, is the path not taken.

I don’t think this term has to relate only to the production of goods and services. I think it encompasses every decision we make in life.

The pizza or the tacos. The tacos of course. Pizza is the opportunity cost.

Watching Netflix every night because you are tired after work VS putting a plan in place for your dream job away from your 9-5. Netflix is so enticing, so many things to stare at on a screen, but the opportunity cost is the life you want and deserve.

A boozy weekend away at a resort VS a productive weekend away at a writing retreat getting content created for the next 6 months. The opportunity cost is all the valuable content you won’t have created and may have to pay someone else to create. But then again…there is nothing wrong with a lush weekend away every now and then.

The opportunity cost of spending money on a vacation to Bali instead of launching your new startup. The opportunity cost is your new business.

Layering this economic theory over life’s decisions creates two areas of awareness.

1. It gives you a big picture view of your decisions. There is nothing wrong with kicking back and binge-watching Netflix series and you should do so without guilt or worry but be mindful of what is really important to you and what you are letting go of in order to binge RuPaul’s Drag Race.

2. It can be a sweet source of motivation. When we have a greater awareness of the path not taken we can feel more motivated to make the switch, feel more in control of our decision making. So long as it doesn’t see us falling into the guilt trap. Feeling guilty the whole time we are watching Netflix because we know we really should be writing that blog, planning that workshop, making those hoops serves no great purpose at all it is simply making the water muddier and mixed up.

The key to success is not wasting time pining for the path not taken but understanding you have control over your decisions, you are in charge of your behaviours. Things are not always going to be perfect, there will be trade-offs and sacrifices but you have a choice.

Which path will you take?


Photo by Ghost Presenter on Unsplash

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Fierce clarity.  Wild creativity.  Spirited courage.

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