Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Opportunity Cost"

Have you ever had a moment where you hear time passing by you? Tick Tock...what are you waiting for in life before you start fulling living?  Or loving? Dreaming? Or Becoming?

Many of you will relate to this post, others will be further aggravated.

Admission: I am chronologically challenged when it comes to time.  In all areas of my life.

I've even had personality tests confirm, "It's just part of my "I" personality type to be late."  Many who know me, say I run on "Tiffany Time".  I've heard it all before, "being late is rude", "you've just wasted 15 minutes of my life", "Don't make me wait!", "should I expect you to be behind?", "we're not going to wait for you", "Do I need to tell you 15 minutes earlier than everyone else?".  The list goes on...

So, needless to say, I've made many people upset with me.  I'm not trying to be selfish or inconsiderate, although some may say I am.  I often wonder if I'm genetically predisposed to a time deficiency problem.  My father was always 2 hours late, my brother is 1 hour late, my other brother sometimes doesn't make it at all, and I'm consistently 15-30mins behind. My internal clock is whack, or maybe I'm just artsy...even growing up with a mom who is always on time, I am late.
I've gotten better, but I'll apologize; "I'm sorry if you've ever waited on me."

We all wait, don't we?  Whether you're waiting for someone, or your food, a promotion, a child, the one you love, a big day, or for a cure. The wait is a place of anticipation and potential frustration. Tick Tock...

Whether you try to make something happen faster, or start something earlier...for me, no matter what I do,  I'm always behind - I'm just never ready!

I'm behind because...I'm never ready?!  Oh crap...I think that's the story of my life. 

I've often been the person who's just not ready for things. For a life change or for love. I've mistakenly EMBRACED the wait. I've heard it said that successful people "make quick decisions, and are slow to change those decisions." I end up debating myself, what if I don't wait and miss what it is I'm waiting for? Flip side, what if I do wait too long and miss out on all the opportunities that could have been wonderfully waiting for me? So WISHY WASHY! It's my worst quality - indecisiveness - I'm not afraid of commitment, just WHAT to commit to.

Whatever side you've been on, you can relate to the angst of the wait. Debating if it's worth your time? Effort? Love? Pain? Money? Your Frustration?  Is the end result going to be worth the limbo of time that proceeds it?

Wanna hear something funny? If you've read this far, I'll take it you do.  I started writing this post a year ago and couldn't decide whether to post it until I read an article by Martha Beck in July's "O" Magazine. In it, Beck attacks this exact issue and calls the indecisive person fearful of "opportunity cost". Economists use this term, which means, you are afraid of all the OTHER good things you could miss if you make a decision. Giving up those other options is the opportunity cost of any decision.  If you can't bear the thought of losing an opportunity by making a clear choice, you too my friend, are afraid of opportunity cost and might just miss out.

She says, "Great strategists trust both intellect and instinct, they gather information until they feel they can make a good decision." 

Great Martha, but my problem is that I never feel like I have enough information and I'm not that much of a risk-taker to just leap based on a gut feeling. I can't seem to find that balance you stress between heart and mind.

I'm FEARFUL of making the wrong decision at times which paralyzes me and I make no decision at all. I find myself afraid TO wait...and equally afraid NOT to wait.  If I don't wait there is a part of me that feels like I give up on my faith, hope and dreams.  Then the time I've already spent will mean nothing and simply become wasted time. Like that song from Avenue Q, "There's a fine fine line between love, and a waste of your time." I think that can apply to many things.

I needed this article, and I think you can benefit too.

Here are the steps Martha Beck suggests to help you get unstuck:

First she says, "Know that the body truth goes ahead of the mind lie", told to Martha by a yogi.  It means all we really need to do is learn to trust our minds, but LISTEN to the truth our body persists in telling us. We can FEEL a decision, she insists. Here's how...

1-Vividly remember a time you said yes and later regretted it later. How did you feel?
2-Think of a time you said no, and wished later you said yes.  How did you feel?
3-Recall a time you said no and were relieved you made that choice.  What did you feel?
4-Remember a time you said yes, and things fell into place.  Physically again, how did you feel?

Using those steps and practicing them will help. I've found that learning to trust your "gut instinct" is an art form. Whether through prayer, meditation or simply being in-tune, it can be hard to "Hear" that body truth at times so instead, try to FEEL it.

Beck says, "If you're miserable, make a choice. If you're still miserable, you can choose again."

I like that Martha.  It's freeing.

Will you and I be perfect at making choices now? No. Fear is hard to let go of.  But let's practice these principles.  And practice...makes permanent.

What are you waiting for?