The pithy aphorism that “the best things in life are free,” whereas little question well-intentioned, is just false. It’s barely extra correct to recommend that the very best issues in life can’t be purchased, however even this declare will be shortly debunked while you try and concoct a state of affairs through 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 very best issues in life are usually not issues. Indeed, findings in behavioral economics recommend that we derive extra pleasure from spending cash on experiences than on stuff. Furthermore, the intangible recollections from these experiences are likely to compound our pleasure over time, whereas most tangible objects depreciate in worth.
So listed below are three the explanation why the very best issues in life could also be fairly pricey, though totally value it.
First, if nothing else, the very best issues in life often require you to commerce your scarcest, and subsequently most beneficial, commodity—your time. How a lot is your time value? A tough approximation is likely to be to find out what you’re 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 12 months). So, how a lot did it truly price you to binge everything of Southern Charm? (I do know somebody’s asking themselves proper now, “Before or after tax?” 😊)
But not all hours are equal, are they? That additional hour of sleep Saturday morning? Date night time? Sunday evenings? The second you drop your first little one off in school? How about your youngest? You get the concept. Our time is extra helpful 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 will 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, after we select to do one factor, we will’t do one other. Therefore, 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.
Here’s a loopy instance: Daniil Medvedev is a very good males’s tennis participant, presently ranked quantity three on this planet. By one estimate, he’s made $7,411,834 to this point in 2023, simply in prize cash, incomes not less than one other $10 million in endorsements for the 12 months. According to our calculation above, that places his hourly price at about $8,370. Per hour.
During the published for the latest 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 taking part in one explicit sport, Rainbow Six Siege. So, in essence, Medvedev has “spent” $25 million value of his time taking part in a single online game.
And I can’t assist however surprise: What ELSE may somebody who makes $17.4 million a 12 months be doing together with his time aside from taking part in video video games? Uh, absolutely anything? No judgement right here, Daniil, however that’s lots of alternative price, my pal.
Lastly, time isn’t the one non-financial useful resource we often expend, nor maybe probably the most helpful. How about your affect and your vitality?
How a lot vitality did you spend crafting that snarky textual content or e-mail response? Frustrated in visitors? Coming up with the right music and caption to your most up-to-date Instagram put up? Fretting over others’ notion of you?
Are you aligning your expenditures of vitality proportionately together with your priorities in life? Or are a very powerful individuals (and your most essential work) getting no matter’s leftover when your vitality tank is sort of on E?
Furthermore, what about your investments in your private vitality? A very good night time’s sleep, a nutrient-dense whole-food weight-reduction plan, a critical train routine—these price actual time and actual cash, and if you happen to’re not making these investments, it’s altogether doubtless that you simply’re unable to offer your greatest to anybody. It’s additionally not a stretch to recommend that you simply’re not maximizing your revenue potential both as a result of it’s very arduous to do your greatest work while you’re not adequately investing in your vitality.
Yet of all of the sources at your disposal, your affect could be the most beneficial—and susceptible. Your affect depends in your popularity, 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 popularity and a millisecond to destroy one. What are you doing to domesticate your affect—and what are you doing to guard it?
Indeed, the very best issues in life are removed from free. Both financially and in any other case, they’re surprisingly pricey, however allow us to not neglect that they’re the greatest issues in life—and completely value it.