The pithy aphorism that “the most effective issues in life are free,” whereas little doubt well-intentioned, is just false. It’s barely extra correct to recommend that the most effective issues in life can’t be purchased, however even this declare may be shortly debunked if you try to concoct a situation during which nary a single penny was spent to craft a seemingly “free” second or expertise.
And that’s the place these sayings evoke a profound tangential reality—that the most effective issues in life should not issues. Certainly, findings in behavioral economics recommend that we derive extra pleasure from spending cash on experiences than on stuff. Moreover, the intangible reminiscences from these experiences are inclined to compound our pleasure over time, whereas most tangible objects depreciate in worth.
So listed below are three the explanation why the most effective issues in life could also be fairly expensive, though totally price it.
First, if nothing else, the most effective issues in life normally require you to commerce your scarcest, and due to this fact most precious, commodity—your time. How a lot is your time price? A tough approximation could be to find out what you might be paid hourly, so if you happen to’re not paid hourly, divide your annual revenue by 2,080 (40 hours per week for 52 weeks in a yr). So, how a lot did it really price you to binge everything of Southern Appeal? (I do know somebody’s asking themselves proper now, “Earlier than or after tax?” 😊)
However not all hours are equal, are they? That further hour of sleep Saturday morning? Date evening? Sunday evenings? The second you drop your first little one off at school? How about your youngest? You get the thought. Our time is extra priceless than we predict; it expires instantaneously, and there’s additionally a considerable quantity of “surge pricing” in our time .
Second, whereas there’s a very actual worth that we are able to connect to your time, there’s one other financial issue at play right here: the tradeoffs we make with our time—our alternative price. Since time, in contrast to cash, is a “zero-sum” commodity, once we select to do one factor, we are able to’t do one other. Subsequently, along with the worth of your time and no matter surge pricing you apply, its worth is additional compounded by the truth that you couldn’t spend that point doing one thing else.
This is a loopy instance: Daniil Medvedev is a very good males’s tennis participant, at present ranked quantity three on this planet. By one estimate, he’s made $7,411,834 up to now in 2023, simply in prize cash, incomes no less than one other $10 million in endorsements for the yr. In line with our calculation above, that places his hourly charge at about $8,370. Per hour.
In the course of the broadcast for the current U.S. Open, the place Medvedev was the runner-up, it was introduced that he’s an enormous on-line gamer—and additional that he has logged greater than 3,000 hours enjoying one explicit sport, Rainbow Six Siege. So, in essence, Medvedev has “spent” $25 million price of his time enjoying a single online game.
And I can’t assist however marvel: What ELSE might somebody who makes $17.4 million a yr be doing along with his time apart from enjoying video video games? Uh, absolutely anything? No judgement right here, Daniil, however that’s a number of alternative price, my good friend.
Lastly, time isn’t the one non-financial resource we usually expend, nor maybe probably the most priceless. How about your affect and your vitality?
How a lot vitality did you spend crafting that snarky textual content or electronic mail response? Annoyed in visitors? Developing with the proper track and caption in your most up-to-date Instagram publish? Fretting over others’ notion of you?
Are you aligning your expenditures of vitality proportionately along with your priorities in life? Or are an important individuals (and your most essential work) getting no matter’s leftover when your vitality tank is sort of on E?
Moreover, what about your investments in your private vitality? evening’s sleep, a nutrient-dense whole-food weight loss program, a critical train routine—these price actual time and actual cash, and if you happen to’re not making these investments, it’s altogether probably that you just’re unable to offer your finest to anybody. It’s additionally not a stretch to recommend that you just’re not maximizing your revenue potential both as a result of it’s very onerous to do your finest work if you’re not adequately investing in your vitality.
But of all of the sources at your disposal, your affect will be the most precious—and weak. Your affect relies in your repute, and as has by no means been extra evident than within the age of social media and 24-hour information cycles, it takes a lifetime to construct a repute and a millisecond to destroy one. What are you doing to domesticate your affect—and what are you doing to guard it?
Certainly, the most effective issues in life are removed from free. Each financially and in any other case, they’re surprisingly expensive, however allow us to not neglect that they’re the finest issues in life—and completely price it.