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Opportunity Cost

Ideally, I would like to be good at everything. I want to learn how to cook. I want to get better at French. I want to improve my Mandarin. I want to travel all over the world. I want to do so much.


Alas, there are only 24 hours in a day. Only 7 days in a week. Only 365 days in a year. It’s just not possible to be good at everything. Because time is limited. Time is the most precious resource that you can have. There is a cost to everything.


And I guess in this life we have to make choices. On what actions to take. What to commit our time and energy towards. If we focus on our career. We make less time to spend with our family. And vice versa. There’s a tradeoff. And not everyone can be great at everything all at once.


Even the billionaires of this world – like Bill Gates and Elon Musk – have their imperfections. They are obviously really good at making money. But with that comes with the cost of other aspects of their lives. Perhaps they may have relationship troubles. Or not the strongest family member.


It’s just a balancing act. So, it’s not possible to expect everything out of everyone. Everyone has their imperfections and weaknesses, because there is simply a limited number of resources and time and energy in this world. And you simply improve in the aspects which you dedicate yourself towards. And the aspects that you don’t dedicate towards unfortunately have to fall by the wayside.


That’s just how it is. Don’t expect superhuman feats from your heroes. I used to idolize good basketball players – like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and the like. I used to think that because they were multi-millionaires and excellent at their craft, that they would be the perfect individual to look up to.


But of course, they have their imperfections as well. They may have it all when it comes to their careers and earnings and basketball. But they are similarly insufficient in other aspects of their lives. They are not immune to the external whims of life.


Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time. But he is arguably not the most competent owner. I also don’t know much about his personal family life and whether or not he excels in that area or not. It’s just a tradeoff. Just because someone is good in one particular area doesn’t mean that they are perfect in everything else as well.


Sometimes, the media just highlights the brilliance of an individual. But they disregard the imperfections that they vastly have in other aspects of their life. This creates a false narrative that they are superheroes. Yes, they may be appropriate to look up to in one area, but not all aspects.


It all comes down to opportunity cost. What do you want to give your time and energy towards? Do you want to perfect your career craft? Do you want to become an excellent professional? Or would you rather spend time becoming an excellent father or mother? Sometimes, it’s hard to juggle multiple responsibilities.


You can’t have everything at the palm of your fingertips. That’s just not the case in this world. For me, I spent so much time these past few years at Toastmasters, perfecting the craft of public speaking. Even though I’m not a certified public speaker, I can confidently say that my public speaking skills have significantly improved compared with a decade ago. And that’s because I genuinely put in the time to participate and improve. Which is great.


Of course, this means that I couldn’t spend time on other aspects of my life. For example, I couldn’t spend time improving my French. If I dedicated that time towards improving my language skills rather than going to Toastmasters, I could perhaps become a master linguist! But, alas, that’s not the case.


So, again, you can’t have everything. Sometimes, it really is one or the other. And that’s the beauty of life. The imperfection. The vulnerability. The mortality of it all. You can’t have everything. You’re not perfect. You’re not immortal. You’re not the ideal superhero. It’s simply not feasible.


Everything you do comes at a cost. Everything you do means you have time away towards doing something else. So, choose carefully. Choose wisely. Choose with your heart on what you want to do. The beautiful thing about this world is that there are so many options out there. You’re bound to find something that you can align with and be passionate about. And then, just pursue that.


Set your priorities. No one will judge you. If you want to do Toastmasters, go for it. If you want to improve your relationship with family, go for it. If you want to build up your body physically, do that. If you want to set time out to date, why not. If you want to invest in hanging out with friends, go for it.


Just realize that time is limited. And the costs are everywhere. But that’s not a bad thing. You just need to come to terms that you won’t have it all in this world. There will be blind spots. There will be things that you simply don’t have time to work on. There will be aspects of life in which you are simply not knowledgeable in. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.

So, learn to accept this humbling fact. And continue to do the things that you genuinely want to do.

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