On Weighing Cost and Benefit

3 minutes read

Sometimes, the rewards of good choices are not worth the effort of finding them.

Shuffling along mindlessly during the daily commute, you might have once been greeted with a small blessing – a spare coin waiting for an owner. Picking it up, your mind begins to dream up possible uses for this coin. You might want to use it to buy some candy, put it in your wallet to save for later, place it in your pencil-case in case you need to draw a circle, observe the coin’s effects on your physics teacher’s head, draw a moustache on the coin man’s face, or invest it in oil stocks in some far flung nation where men with real moustaches live. The possibilities presented to you are nearly limitless. You notice the time and pick up the pace, hoping inflation won’t render the coin useless.

A fork in the road. Haha. Look, humor.

Have you ever considered throwing that coin out of the window? Nonsense, you say. The opportunity cost of throwing the coin out of the window would be a tasty snack, sweet revenge, rebellion against the coin man, or dividends from moustached men. You forget, however, that opportunity cost includes the scarcest resource: time. We have so much time but a single person has so l Holding on to think about the best way to spend the coin only hinders you from performing other, more productive activities.

Throwing the coin out of the window is even more satisfying if you live in a high-rise. It gives you the chance to exact revenge on the house-dwelling people who don’t have to cramp themselves in a sarcophagus to reach the comfort of home. Take the coin, whisper to it your last farewells, and comfort it as it wises up to your intentions. Wind your arm up, muster as much strength as you can, and before release, know that your mind will be rid of this useless thinking. As the coin falls, savor its plunge into the abyss and its metallic little shrieking. Hopefully, your coin will hit some poor old house-dweller on the head, and what he thinks is a welcome blessing will plague him for the years to come. Afterwards, you can begin performing tasks that will provide you actual results.

People teach us to weigh cost and benefit in every decision we make. However, some take this so far that the time they spend thinking about the choices is worth more than what they could ever get from the decision. Sometimes, it is just rational to throw these worthless coins out the window and start anew.

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