Life is full of opportunity costs. You choose one door only to watch the other close forever. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that paralysis plagues so many.
How are you to decide when option A might be better or worse than option B?
Here are four decisions I’ve made in my life. They are four things that, in my own experience, have been worth it. Consider if they may be worth it for you as well. The door is for you to choose, but at least I can tell you what’s on the other side.
Starting Your Business
I started my first business at twenty. It failed. I started several more businesses soon after. They too failed. So much failure. So much crying. And so much pain. But it was worth it. As lame as it may sound, entrepreneurship was the dream I didn’t realize I had. It simply called to me. Much like how I assume someone feels called to be an actor or a musician or a veterinarian.
I listened to the call. And I took it seriously.
As of this writing, I now run my business full-time. It’s as fulfilling as I always hoped it would be. Much like if you were to land an acting gig or get into your dream school.
You don’t need to start a business, but one thing in life that is worth pursuing is, for lack of a less cheesy term, your dream. It will be brutal at first. Things will not go your way. You will spend many an afternoon scream-crying to yourself in the car (or was that just me?).
But it is worth it.
It is worth it when you can look at the alternative in the rearview mirror. At the mediocre life that could have been but, thankfully, never was.
Buying That Ticket
I’ve encountered the same thing again and again in my life. I would be afraid to ask for time off. Not wanting to cause a ruckus, I would debate over what to do. To ask or not. Each time, I went for it. I spoke up. I put in my time off request or had the uncomfortable conversation with my anti-vacation boss.
Each time, I was happy I did.
Not only were the trips awesome, but I never ended up staying with the company for long anyway. Sometimes they folded. Other times, I quit or got laid off. Regardless, the lesson I’ve continued to learn is the same: jobs are easy to come by, but getting this moment in your life back is hard.
People are afraid to take time off. I get it.
You don’t want to look bad to your team. You don’t want to be overlooked while away. And you may not have many vacation days available, so you want to be picky. But is a life of all work and no play your ideal one?
The times I’ve taken those trips have been worth it. Obviously, that’s within reason. I wasn’t maxing out my credit cards or leaving my team in the lurch. Rather, I saw an opening on my calendar and knew that was a weekend to take advantage of.
Travel may not be your thing. Maybe it’s a concert or a conference. Whatever your ideal experience, seize it when the moment arrives. You may not get another chance for a long time.
Talking to Strangers
I read a book earlier this year. It discussed talking with someone new. How it can be uncomfortable. But, ultimately, it raised the question – how hard is it really to open your mouth and just say hello? Further, how annoyed will you be with yourself knowing you didn’t take the opportunity to say hello when you had the chance?
The book stayed with me. And I often find myself talking to strangers now because of it.
If our eyes meet, I say hello. I start a conversation. Sometimes it’s boring, but that’s an edge case. Normally it’s an awesome encounter. Probably because we are both filled with the nervous excitement of a chance exchange.
You don’t need to talk with random people if you don’t want to. However, one thing that has been worth it in my life is going outside my comfort zone. Particularly in the case of social settings. For you, though, it could apply to running further or learning a new language.
Those times where I push myself have led to some great experiences.
I’m a naturally curious person. I like to ask questions. All kinds of questions. This has led me to have some fascinating interactions. I’ve spoken with a psychic about the afterlife. I’ve chatted with a fitness author about nutrition. Whatever calls to me, I ask.
Indulging my curiosity makes life fun.
Curiosity is a part of who I am, but it may not be for you. You may be the type who likes to take things apart and reassemble them on your own. What really matters is that you embrace the different aspects of who you are.
My favorite moments are those where I follow my curiosity, or when I say the vulnerable thing, or when I apply my creativity. Those are the moments that are always worth it.
Embrace them for yourself and they will be for you as well.
Life is full of opportunity costs. You can choose the door on the left but you will forever lose access to the door on the right.
That said, there is no getting out of it. You must choose a door. And, you must continue choosing doors.
I can’t tell you which doors to choose, but I can tell you which doors have been worth it for me. For your reference once more, four things in life I’ve found to be worth it are:
- Starting that business.
- Buying that ticket.
- Talking to that stranger.
- And indulging curiosity.