Opportunity cost is a concept in micro-economic theory that the New Oxford American Dictionary defines as "the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen." I like to apply it to the choices we make in other aspects of our lives. Because life is precious and time limited, the larger problem of a poor choice is that it takes you away from something more worthwhile.
For example, the opportunity cost of settling for an unloving relationship is that prevents you from having relationship that is loving. Similarly, the opportunity cost of working in a job that you do not enjoy is that it takes you away from having a job you enjoy.
The opportunity cost of a decision is often subtle. We often do not view it as choosing one thing means foregoing something else. This consideration is standard when considering financial investments, so why would it be less important when considering the investments we make in relationships, family, career, and how we spend our free time?
So while it may seem harmless enough to hang out in our comfort zone all day long, what is the opportunity cost in terms of the possibilities you are not accessing by choosing to reside in your comfort zone?
This is the perfect time of year to analyze all the various investments you are making in your life. The obvious first step is to honestly look at the things you are currently investing in. Sometimes we that we feel we do not have choices which results in us believing we are trapped. But this is just a story we tell ourselves.
The next step is to evaluate if the things you are investing in still serve you. And the step after that is asking: What are the opportunity costs of the things in your life that are no longer serving you?
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.