Kurt here, back with another post on a topic that I’m really excited to write about, opportunity cost!
The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
The idea that if I go and do this, I’m losing out on the opportunity to do that. I believe it’s having a radical impact on the majority of our lives and directly affects our focus and discipline. I see it slowly but clearly eroding one’s standards and discipline. I also see it critically impacting their values. All of which I find highly important components to one’s life that must be defended at all costs.
When I “settle” and pursue an alternative option, that is NOT my ideal desired option I am subtlety, unconsciously, eroding my standard, my discipline and almost always in this case going against the values I wish to pursue that are most critical to my life.
I see this happening a lot in people’s careers and dating life. They get a “job” just to get a job. But they’re not pursuing that which they truly want where they can truly shine their best. In my own dating life, I’ve been guilty of this as well. I see people dating individuals who aren’t their ideal partner, and it takes up so much time and energy to invest in that and they’re limiting their full potential to find their ideal partner.
You see it often takes focus and discipline to achieve things of high value. Where focus goes energy flows. But when you’re committing 40 hours / week to a job that you don’t even see yourself staying in long term, how much energy do you leave left to pursue that dream opportunity?
1) Careers are supposed to be rewarding, challenging, growing endeavors that allow you to become the person you want to become. But I see so many people taking a job they really don’t want barely batting an eye, and spend 100s of hours there! Now don’t get me wrong, there’s things I have to do in my businesses that I don’t want to do. almost everyday. But the overall theme, the overall position and place I am within the teams and how I’m functioning and growing is exactly what I want.
When I was in college I started to become more self aware of my professional journey and my life, I was a late bloomer! (And frankly all the tools and perspectives to grow up at that time, youtube channels and content out there didn’t exist for me back then the way it has exploded today) So listened to my father – he was wise and successful, plus he sort of had authority over me. I became an engineer and then headed over to Microsoft after graduation. This was a conscious decision catapulted by my ambition and hard work to apply to 100’s of different positions. It was through the practice of negotiating, being in a sweaty interview rooms, being able to get more and more polished and eventually interview at an elite level that I was able to land the position that I wanted. Had I pursued a lower level job without staying on the war path for my dream gig I probably would’ve set myself back several years.
Then I wanted to get into sales, and you know what? Microsoft wouldn’t give me an opportunity at that time, so I interviewed outside the company. And it was the stepping up toward the opportunity I wanted that got me to the level I’m at now. The irony was I turned out be an excellent sales rep, one of the best in my next career – among a league of exceptional sales folks. I kept pushing for it.
Now I get it, that there’s a need to have an income and there may not be the dream job right then and there in many life situations and I’m not saying there a times when you will have to take a job you don’t want. My point here is more that with effort and a consistent focus towards the opportunity you truly want you can avoid getting “caught” by lower, less than ideal opportunities that many often settle for.
2) Dating Life, let’s switch gears and talk about the pursuit of love. How many of you, and of course I’m sure you would NEVER do this, but you have friends who will go home with someone that is not even someone they would want to spend a day with! They’ve literally caved into the lust of their most primitive sexuality. And they end up sacrificing a large portion of their quality sleep (something I personally value over almost anything at this point), and in some cases self-respect by doing something they would otherwise never have done. If you think about it, a night out with a stranger probably costs you an entire day, you wake up feeling like sh*t the next day compared to if you were totally rested and sober. For me personally it feeds into a conflict of my values around health and vitality and being my best self and leaves me weak and foggy. What do you think it costs in time and energy to date someone for weeks, months or even years you don’t really want to be with?
I think this mismatch is happening all over the world constantly. Today I’d rather stay single and stay true to my values, who knows maybe that will change and certainly vacations can be a bit different depending on how you want to adjust your values while you’re on them.
But there’s something to be said about involved at any level with some one below your standard and how it will affect your subconscious as well as the standards and how it will bleed into other parts of your self. If you compromise here, where else in your life will compromise?
Now there’s a big of a danger that taking this to the extreme can turn you into a perfectionist. I totally get it, if you’re constantly holding the standard so high that you’re never feeling like you’re in the ideal career or relationship, over time you may need to reflect and adjust how you’re viewing things. But I would argue you can be fairly honest with consistent progress and you can be honest with having stepping stones. For many people that’s a healthy exact definition for what it is they’re in. But if you’re still riding around with these “training wheels” years later (as is the case for some people I know), acting like a primate with limited intelligence – NOT growing, it might be worth taking a deeper look at your standards, your disciplines and your focus and really asking yourself what’s important to me? What are my values and how can I align even more to those? And what the heck am I doing with these repeated unproductive habits?
I would venture to throw out an educated guess that the vast majority of readers are likely not doing their best at keeping tabs on this. Keep in mind it’s not just “indulging” when you pursue something below what your standardis…You’re directly robbing energy and time away from pursuing the alternate opportunity that may be the absolute rich and fulfilling opportunity you’re looking for.