We often find ourselves in situations where we have to make important decisions, regarding our lives, our careers, our relationships and our interests. With so many alternatives available today in terms of the lifestyle one wants to live, the place one wants to live in, the people one wants to be with, and the things one wants to achieve, it always appears as though we are giving something up in order to get something else.
Economists sum this up in two words as 'opportunity cost'. In spending your time and money and effort in getting something, you are giving up the things that you could have been doing with the same money and time and effort. Out of several opportunities, you are picking one. And different people value the same set of opportunities differently. Hence, you have some people who slug it out and see something through while others give up mid way and move on to something else. Hence, you see some people who diligently go after what it takes to continue to take steps up whatever ladder it is they have decided to climb up, while some others decide to hop off and pick another ladder to climb up.
It doesn't matter who you are. You could be the one who picks her ladder and keeps on climbing, either by fighting all odds, or because that's the only thing you enjoy, or because you don't know any better. You could be the one that climbs up one ladder, decide that there is something else interesting, and hop off and climb that. Or you could be the one that climbs up a a few steps and says, "That's it, I'm all good here. Let me set up camp and settle here."
Whatever you do, you are only picking one of the possible alternatives. And if you're most people, you often don't pick the opportunity that is most rewarding financially, or the one that will bring you the highest social acclaim, or the one that everyone expects you to pick. And you pick what you pick because that's what makes you the happiest, or because that's what your value systems dictate you do. And there will be several others that pick the ones that do end up being the most rewarding financially.
If everyone picks the opportunities that make them the happiest, its all well and good, right?
Only it isn't.
And it isn't so simply because we evolve with time. The peers we compare ourselves with continues to evolve with us. And at no point are we comparing ourselves to someone who has exactly the same decision matrix for what makes them happy or someone who has exactly the same value systems. Yet, we compare and feel that we should have picked a different opportunity, one that would have made us look better in the comparison today. When doing this comparison months or years after the original decision was made, it is easy to be blinded by what is visible now in the material and miss out on why we picked the opportunity we did back when we picked it.
Which brings me to the 'Fuck Money' folder.
Whenever you make a decision that makes you feel like you're bucking the trend, or going against convention, or saying no to money that's there for the taking, write down why. Write a letter or an email to yourself explaining why you're making this decision. And put it in the 'Fuck Money' folder. And when you find yourself comparing yourself to someone and think "I could have been like that if only I had taken my opportunity...", then go look in that folder.
Because when you do, you are either reminded of why you made the right decision or you have a reference to learn from so as to not make that mistake again.
Get yourself a 'Fuck Money' folder.