Opportunity Cost is an economic theory that is defined on Investopedia as: “a benefit that a person could have received but gave up, to take another course of action.” Ultimately this means that, in every single action that you ever do, you are sacrificing the potential to do another thing. When you choose to purchase a coffee for $5, you are sacrificing the money that could have been used to buy a sandwich instead. When you choose to walk to work, you are sacrificing the minutes you could have saved by driving.
It’s important to note that opportunity cost is not necessarily a cynical theory, but it is something that should be recognized with every decision that you make. In order to pursue a happier life, there are things that need to be sacrificed.
While many thought leaders today may argue that happiness is just a simple state of mind that can be switched on at any time (which is true), there are certain opportunity costs that need to be made to achieve and maintain a consistent level of happiness.
Assume Responsibility & Control The Outcome
Too often do we blame others for our downfall. Too often do we give control of our lives to the hands of others. What’s even worse is that when we do these things and receive external validation from family and friends, we feel satisfied with the outcome.
The long-term solution to consistent happiness is assuming responsibility for all outcomes. This means that when you are late for work, that is on you. When you are early for work, that is on you. When you are winning that is because of you and when you are losing that is because of you. By accepting full control of your life in everything you do, you force yourself to make better choices that ultimately improve your overall happiness.
Find a Purpose For Your Actions
This may sound obvious but there is a deeper meaning to it. Your purpose needs to be something can be defined in 1 sentence and is as clear as day for you to recognize at all time. If money is your sole purpose, it can lead you to do things that are not aligned with your self-description which will ultimately lead to dissatisfaction and reduced happiness levels. The most achievable goals are those that seek money for a specific desired result. Whether that be to provide for your family in a way that you have never done before or to donate a certain amount of your earnings to charity. Having a purpose towards your actions will propel you further than you could have ever possibly imagined.
Accept Increased Criticism and Cynicism
As you continue to grow mentally, financially, emotionally, you will begin to notice two separate crowds in your vicinity. There will be a crowd of supporters and there will also be a crowd of doubters (“haters” as modern society likes to refer to them as). The truth of the matter is that the ladder group will be much larger than the former and that is okay. As you continue to fight for your happiness, it is your job to simply stay focused on the mission and to block any negative vibe out completely.
Accept That Happiness is Not a Destination But a Journey
When you purchase a new car, your brain instantly surges with dopamine. After that, your brain falls back to normal levels again. The same chemical reaction occurs with almost any materialistic good that you choose to buy. The key to consistent happiness does not come from materialistic goods. Instead, happiness comes from consistent efforts towards the betterment of yourself. By working on yourself on a daily basis, your “normal” dopamine levels stay far above those that seek that quick surge.
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