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In Life, Everything Has An Opportunity Cost!

The opportunity cost of an unlived dream is not only that dream, but also the dreams the dream was meant to inspire.” Ryan Lilly

In economics, opportunity cost means the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. When an option is chosen from alternatives, the opportunity cost is the “cost” incurred by not enjoying the benefit associated with the best alternative choice. Idle cash balances represent an opportunity cost in terms of interest.

Life is all about values and priorities, you face trade-offs. Life always requires of you to make choices among mutually exclusive alternatives. Every time you select something, you forfeit other alternatives and associated benefits. The cost of something is what you will give up to get it. You can do anything but not everything and therefore, the question you are always faced with is, what will you sacrifice when you choose one option over the others? Even more critical is your knowledge or awareness of the options with their associated benefits that you’re  giving up! This is when doing your homework is key, not just rushing things up without evaluating almost all alternatives.

Well, I believe that thinking in terms of opportunity cost is the best way to approach life. It’s based on the fact that when you use your scarce resource like time, money and energy for something, you miss the opportunity to use it for something else that may yield better results. The value of that something else is the cost that you have to pay. With this concept in mind, it’s simple to see whether you use your scarce resource effectively. The problem is that it’s easy to spend your time without thinking about the opportunity cost. It’s easy to just follow the path of least resistance and do what feels good at the moment. While it might make you feel good now, it won’t help you realise your full potential.

We live in a world of scarcity and must therefore make choices. You cannot avoid regret since there are opportunity costs for every choice you will make. Every time you say “yes” to a choice, you are also saying “no” to everything else you may have accomplished with your time, money, and other resources. Opportunity cost is a commanding tool that you should be wise to apply to all decision-making. If you integrate this concept into your thought process, you will not only make wise choices, but also better understand the world in which you live.

Whether you are choosing a career path or switching from one to another, starting a business, investing your money, buying a car, or throwing away your evening watching tv, considering the value of lost alternatives will help you make better decisions. Make the lens of opportunity costs the underpinning of your decision-making processes.

Once again, please get this to your system, “The opportunity cost of an unlived dream is not only that dream, but the dreams that dream was meant to inspire.” This is so profound in that you are not only responsible for your own dreams, but other people’s (alive and unborn) dreams that depend on yours. So, every time you misuse your time, you are throwing your potential and dreams away and not only do you do that, but also, you are throwing away other people’s dreams who could have been inspired by yours. Not leaving your dream is greed! Yes, Greed!

To maximise your potential, you must effectively use your time, here’s what you should do:

Before doing an activity, I mean any activity, ask yourself this question, “Is this the best use of my time?” “What else could I do with this time?” For instance, you might be thinking of spending the evening binge-watching a TV show or anything of that sort. But here you should stop and ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time?” “What else could I best use this time for?” You might come up with other ideas such as reading a book or working on a side project.

Remember, your uniqueness is what makes you special, don’t compromise it, that’s what sets you apart. You have the power to live your dreams!

Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of four books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON! And Set Your Soul On Fire!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on , or +27 83 304 9773