Monday, October 12, 2020

The Opposite of Opportunity Cost

Let’s start this blog post with a definition. Opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain, because you chose a different route. This is similar in concept to technical debt. Technical debt is what is required to re-work an existing quick solution to make it solid. How are these two concepts related? Opportunity cost is often, when truly boiled down, “we took the easy/logical route” when you shouldn’t have. So what happens when you realize that you have regrets over picking one route instead of another? Picking an easy/logical route that didn’t work as well as “the greener grass on the other side”?

I am going to take a moment and simplify the verbiage so that we can gain perspective. When we look at the word “opportunity” that really seems to drill down to “non-action” or areas where action could be taken. When we look at the word “cost” we can make it modified to be “lack of” or “removal of” future gain. So, taking this new context into play, opportunity cost could really be “through non-action we removed future gain”.

Let’s flip this now. The opposite of non-action would be action or energy. The opposite of removal is gain. So our actions open more possibilities? That doesn’t quite work because the word “cost” is still too focused on fiscal funds. My thought is flip this definition not through technicalities, but through spirit. To me, the opposite of opportunity cost is energy gratitude.

Why is this the opposite? In the first verbiage “opportunity cost” there is regret over not taking a certain action, which could have gained you more. In the reverse verbiage “energy gratitude” you are happy with the movement that you took.

So, why does all this matter? It’s a matter of fast versus slow. In life, you are pushed to achieve so much. When you rush from thing to thing, it all blends in and becomes a stale mush. It’s like taking a tour bus, every day, that never stops at the monuments. Just every day is a new set of monuments that you quickly snap pictures of to catalog. In a slower version, the bus stops, and you get to walk around the monuments and read the plaques. You get to dig into the little things more. They say life is a journey, but that doesn’t mean it’s a speed run to the end. Instead, if you flow through it quickly, nothing ever really pops up more than another thing. It’s all the same value of emergency. When you move slower, you have things that matter and things that don’t matter. Life gains a sense of flavor and isn’t just a bland mush you shovel in to live another day.

All that is to say, I am trying to move a bit slower and more deliberate each day. The hope is that what I produce is more relevant and important than if I just tried to fit in everything.


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