Thursday, July 9, 2015

Making The Trades That Make Life Great

When I was child I was told, “you can do whatever you set your mind to”. What liars those people turned out to be! Yes, you can do lots of things in life if you are willing to work for it. The problem is that you can’t do everything you want in life, at least not well.

Life has limits. Everybody and everything has limits. We only have 24 hours to spend each day. If we don’t spend a good amount of that time sleeping, our health and performance will suffer. If we don’t spend some of that time eating and drinking our strength and eventually our health will diminish. Most of us have to work, and most of us have relationships that we value that require time as well. We also have clubs, sports, hobbies, and chores that demand attention. There are books to be read, plays to be seen, and sights to travel to. How can we possibly fit it all in?

We can’t.

The only way to have a satisfying life is to accept the truth of trade-offs. Everything in life costs something.  It may cost you time, money, energy, or all of the above, but it will always cost something. You will have to trade your time to build relationships in life. We trade energy to be a part of the basketball league. We trade money for a place to live, plane tickets, and meals. There are limits however to the time, energy, and money we have to trade. So you have to be deliberate about what you trade and what you receive in return. Everything in life is a trade-off, but are you getting what you want out of the trades?

Ignoring the reality of our limits and the truth of trade-offs doesn’t change the facts. Pretending that you can do everything without ever having to say "no" will only work for a while. You will still make trade-offs, it’s just that you won’t be one determining which trades you make. If you don’t decide which trades in life to make, life will make those choices for you.

So, if you find yourself dissatisfied with your life and relationships, take a second and ask yourself, “What do I really want most in my life?” When you have that answer, you are ready for the follow-up question, “How can I trade my time, energy, and money to get the things I want most?”  Trade-offs are a reality of life, but if you trade wisely they can lead to a satisfying and enjoyable life.

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