Opportunity Cost

A few weeks ago at our semi-monthly book club meeting, I expressed anxiety over quitting my current job. I didn’t know how my employer would take it and the uncertainty of starting a business is a little nerve-wracking. A friend suggested I listen to Freakonomics Radio’s The Upside of Quitting episode. Another suggested I listen to “Listen to Your Heart” and get on with it. I definitely took both pieces of advice, but the podcast, in particular, was somewhat life-changing.

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Stephen Dubner speaks candidly about how many of us have been programmed to think that quitting is a bad thing. He explained two economic concepts: sunk cost and opportunity cost. Sunk cost is the blood, sweat, and tears that you have invested. “Opportunity cost,” Dubner says, “is about the future. It means that for every hour or dollar you spend on one thing, you’re giving up the opportunity to spend that hour or dollar on something else – something that might make your life better.” While I know little to nothing about economics, this spoke to my core. I’ve put in over a decade of time and work at the same hospital I started my career, and here I was ready to give all that up for a risk. But, interestingly, opportunity cost is relatable to much more in life.

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How often do we put too much time and effort into something that’s bad for us? There are of course the obvious ones: smoking, sedentary lifestyle, eating too much sugar. But, how about all of the worries we’ve wasted our time on? What about the dead relationships, the hang-ups about our bodies, an obligation that doesn’t serve you? So many of us aim to please, but it’s so important to consider the cost on ourselves. If only we can just…QUIT.

I know, this is easier said than done. A chronic nail biter for all my life, I have attempted to quit dozens of times. However, one day this past summer, I was sick of it and ended it once and for all. My nails have been long ever since! I took some time for myself to get a manicure yesterday while my parents watched my newborn. It was wonderful to get away, but the highlight of my day was that my manicurist complimented me on my beautiful, strong, healthy nails. (??!?!?!!)

Quitting takes effort. It’s anxiety-provoking. It’s out of our comfort zones. But what if it could bring us happiness and joy? What if it could change your life? Quitting just might be the biggest act of self care you could give yourself this year.

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Think about what is not serving you in this moment and find out what you need to do to let it go. Figure out what’s holding you back from living the life that you want. Figure out that opportunity cost. What do you need to do that? Do you need help?

Here’s where I’d make my nurse coaching pitch, but I’m not in training yet, nor am I taking any clients. However, know that I’ll be here for you in the spring. I can help you get to where you’d like to be and close those doors with you.

Happy weekend all,

Lindsay

2 thoughts on “Opportunity Cost

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