Everything you do in life is a trade-off. Anything you say, do, or pursue has a cost and a benefit. Those costs and benefits may not always be immediately apparent—sometimes the costs and benefits are dislocated in time, the benefit being immediate and the cost in the distant future. Sometimes the costs or benefits are subtle and psychological. But nonetheless, there is always a trade-off.
We like to believe that we can find a life of only pleasure and no pain, of only success and no failure, of only acceptance and no rejection. But this is impossible. Gain and loss are simultaneous. For everything you say or do, there is an infinite number of alternative choices you must forgo in order to say or do them.
As your Economics 101 class taught you, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” If you’re eating an awesome cheesesteak, you’re giving up the chance to eat a hamburger. If you’re eating a hamburger, you’re giving up the chance to eat a double-stacked burrito. And if you’re eating a double-stacked burrito, then you’re giving up the ability to ever respect yourself again.
This phrase highlights a central economic concept: opportunity costs. …
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