We exist in a world of cost. To get to the Olympics, for example, means a huge amount of cost. The participants and those around them sacrifice their time, their effort, their lives to this competition. The food we eat and the things we use every day all require something of us. That usually translates into money, which we receive from sacrificing time to engage in a task that pays us. While economics seems to be incredibly dull from the outset, it’s actually a surprising study of life itself. Economists question how, why, where we get the things we do, and how, why, and what we do with those things afterward. It’s amazingly connected to psychology in that they use how people think and have acted to predict how they will act. But how does this relate to us on a practical level?
Practically, economists are running the organization of our entire society. They help orchestrate the massive plan holding everything together. But in other ways, knowing about economists doesn’t do much to change our lives. Knowing about the importance of people who study boring maps and graphs doesn’t inspire the ability to change oneself. What it does do, is highlight how important it is to life that we know what we are giving up. The real, tangible way to make use of the concept we live in a world of cost? Being reasonable.
“Being reasonable” is a phrase that tends to get a bad reputation from the most artistic people of the world. It gets translated into, “Don’t aim for lofty goals”. However, it can be better translated and used to mean, “Don’t aim for lofty goals all at once.” If you set achievable small goals, reasonable small goals, they can eventually build its way up to those big goals. Furthermore, “being reasonable” also makes us aware that we have limited quantities of time and effort. If all of our choices can be related to cost, then we can learn to find better ways to spend our time. It might be terrifying to isolate things down to cost, and surely not everything can, but why live prodigally and miss your best self by a lack of calculation?