Fair Trade: Give and Take in a Zero Sum World
We find that trade-offs occur in nearly all that we do. One of the big ones that we study in human factors psychology is speed versus accuracy. If you want a person to be able to accomplish a task as quickly as possible, then accuracy will suffer. If you need them to be accurate above all, then don’t plan on it to be fast. In most cases, you want the task conducted somewhere in the middle where neither speed nor accuracy are favored at the detriment of the other. This relationship is described in great detail by Fitts's Law.
If we plot the relationship of the two variables we see that as we increase our accuracy, the amount of time the task takes to complete increases as well. There’s a trade-off between these two, and depending on the desired rate of speed and necessary accuracy determines where one focuses on the plot.
You probably learned about the term "Opportunity Cost" in your high school economics class. Opportunity Cost is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. However, it’s important to recognize that opportunity cost does not just apply to finances. It applies to every aspect of your life.
For many, there is a trade-off between occupational success and free time. If you want to be highly successful in your field, you’re going to have to sacrifice free time. Obviously free time can consist of vacations, alone time, spending time with friends and family, or focusing on other hobbies and endeavors. But let me ask you this: If one puts all of their focus on their career because they want to be successful so that they reach their goal of free time, did they succeed in achieving their goal. Does “life” wait for retirement? In some cases, it might, in others it won’t.
There exists a trade-off between expenses and wealth. If one wants to maximize their comfortability and live in luxury, then their expenses go up and the financial means they retain go down. Inversely, if one can live below their means, they can accrue greater retained wealth. If you haven't read "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason, I HIGHLY recommend you go take a peak at the notes posted here, it just might change your life.
So with all that said, where is there a trade-off in your life that you haven’t really thought about? Are you focusing on what you should be? Is there a side of the trade-off is going to get you to your goal faster? Is it worth the delicate balancing act to stay in the middle, or will leaning in on direction fast-track getting you there? –To know that answer, you really need to know what your goal is, and how it builds the foundation for your next goal.