A key fact no one likes to accept is that we can’t have it all. You can try to argue, however, if you apply the basic economic principle of an opportunity cost, one would realise whenever we do anything, we are sacrificing something else.
Let me draw your attention to Mohammed El Erian, CEO of $2 trillion bond fund PIMCO, who recently quit to spend time with his 10 year old daughter. This was after he was presented a 22 point list of important events she noticed he had missed.
So what’s the point I’m trying to make?
As a culture we celebrate people who become rich by doing ‘exceptional’ things, not noting that these things require huge opportunity cost.
Steve Jobs as quoted was a ‘deadbeat’ to his first daughter.
Bill Gates slept in his office 5 days a week and remained single way into his 30’s.
The point being doing anything truly great requires some sort of sacrifice. And the problem is, modern society multiples this sacrifice, therefore multiplying our opportunity cost. Its now more costly and difficult to commit all of our time and energy to just one thing without feeling remorse or regret. (The concept of FOMO – fear of missing out)
Our ability to manage time or balance our life between work and play hasn’t changed – but our opportunities to work and play have increased more than ever before and similar to our awareness to every experience were passing up. We are reminded of this opportunity cost every day.
So what’s the solution? Why should I have to accept I cant have a striving career and family?
I am not saying that you cannot have both, at the end of the day it is my dream to harbour each quality. My solution is to simply accept our boundaries. Our unfortunate tendency is to want everything we possibly can, which may be detrimental until we recognise our limitations. Only then will we be able to prioritize what we care about most. The problem here is not knowing which one to give up.
You can have the motive to work 20 hours a day to provide the perfect life for your family, without knowing what they really crave is your love and affection.
Mohammed El Erians priority was $1(insert a zillion zeros) per year, until one day, his priorities changed.