What’s the tradeoff?

What would you do for money? What would you do for a certain trademarked dessert? What would you do for the thing that you want most in the world? What would you not do? Today we’re going to talk about the tradeoff of various choices and how the method you use for making decisions might not be taking into account tradeoffs.

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When I was in grad school, I had the privilege of consulting with a variety of groups from athletes to business people. One of the times I was consulting another one of my fellow consultants presented a lesson that I feel is one of the simplest but best examples of the differences between wanting to do something and actually doing it.

He would start an exercise by holding up a dollar bill and asking a simple question, “Who would like this dollar?” Now most of the hands would be in the air. Then he would ask, “Who really wants this dollar?” To this a few hands would start stretching and maybe even a few would start waving back and forth. And yet a 3rd time he would ask, “Who REALLY wants this dollar?” To which most people are still reaching and waving, but about this time there was usually someone who would step up and take the dollar out of his hand. That’s when he would say something like, “See most people say that they want the dollar, but only this person was willing to do something to get that result.”

Tradeoffs Matter

One of the reasons I really enjoy that lesson is that it shows the tradeoff needed to go from thought to action. In this scenario the individual that took action was willing to risk looking stupid by reaching out and actually taking the dollar. You could also say they traded off some energy needed to move their body or they traded their time to be there in that moment. There are multiple forms of tradeoffs that occur in every moment. This is similar to the desire to workout vs the actual action of working out. For me when it comes to tradeoffs, I like to think of them through the view of a question. What are you actually willing to invest your time, energy, effort, etc. into in order to get a result?

Recently I listened to a YouTube video from a wealthy individual who was discussing how he eats basically the same meal every day. Most people enjoy eating a variety of foods or claim they would get bored of only eating the same thing over and over. He pointed out that he trades the variety of food that he could easily enjoy for the mental capacity and time freed up by not needing to think twice about what he eats in a day. If he decides he wants to eat something different than his normal routine, he doesn’t second guess that either. He just orders whatever he is hungry for and moves on. This allows him to focus on things like running a multi-million dollar business. What tradeoffs are you willing to make to simplify your life to help you in a different area of your life?

Another tradeoff that I don’t know about personally but have friends who have experienced is with recovery programs. One typical recommendation when in recovery is to remove certain vices from your proximity. This can be people, locations, or habits/behaviors that have the potential to cause you to relapse. What would you be willing to remove from your life that could be holding you back? Is there something that needs to be removed to help you become healthier, more successful, or whatever it is that you’re trying to become?

A simple question

Ultimately every tradeoff comes down to a simple question, “Is it worth it?” If you don’t think the reward for a tradeoff is worth it you’re not going to make that trade. You might in the short term make that trade, but in the long run it is highly unlikely that you would stick to something you don’t think is worth it. People who look at human behavior will suggest when trying to motivate someone to take the action you want is usually done through either removing barriers or increasing rewards.

This idea of removing barriers and adding rewards seems simple enough especially when you know that’s what people are doing to see it all over. The common sales idea of “but wait there is more” is designed to show you added value. Or the concept of “if you call now we’ll take away 1 payment” is designed to remove a barrier of an extra payment that you were potentially considering as a problem and helping add more value.

We all make tradeoffs all the time. Some of those we know about and some we don’t. This week I want you to consider, what are you trading in your life? Are there things that you would trade to get more of something in your life? Are there things you’d be willing to trade to have less of something else in your life? Comment below on a tradeoff that you’ve found to be worth it in your life.

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