Value of trade-offs

A trade-off means – ‘An act of balancing between two opposing situations, qualities or things, both of which you want and need.’ I find this definition to be incomplete because it does not highlight a key feature of a trade-off which is, letting go of some needs and keeping some. Yes, a trade off implies you forego few opportunities and also relationships to make the most of what you decide to keep.

If you were to list the numerous instances where you felt tremendously pressed for energy and time, most of them would fall in the group of professional life v/s personal life. Balancing both is ideal but trade-off is the reality of everyday life.

Advantages of a trade-off over endless juggling

  • You become more passionate about every task that you take up at office or home.
  • You feel powerful because you know you have a choice.
  • You are at peace as you have limited priorities.

Disadvantages of a trade-off

  • You unintentionally limit your scale leading to a limited world view.
  • You need to continuously put effort to build acceptance around your decision.
  • You may often take guilt trips when you see others excelling at something that you have chosen to forego.

How can we make this trade-off easy? Following are 3 points to keep in mind

  1. Make a well evaluated choice which is driven by both facts and feelings. Understand the consequences well because many a times the change is irreversible. For example, you invest your savings in a course abroad, whether you are able to cope up with the vagaries of the new city or not you have to complete the course for better work opportunities.
  2. Know how to handle guilt. Here the best example would be of a working parent. While you meet your office deadlines you miss on your child’s milestones. Pre-empt the situations that will create heaviness in your heart and deal with them head-on. Do not waste time convincing yourself and others every time a new event comes up.
  3. Accept your limitations. While it is good to dream, keep your resources and capabilities in hindsight. Only when you accept your current state can you do a systematic trade off. Random half-hearted bouts will take you nowhere. For instance, your friend did the Everest Base Camp trek which you wanted to do too, but could not do due to a big family event in the same period. Plan the training schedule and take it up the moment you are released off your commitments but for the time being ACCEPT.

Golden rule

The length of the period of a trade-off decides the degree of its reversibility.

Think about it!!!

Following is the link to an article that appeared in the Speaking Tree. It supports my content and is also responsible for the thought of writing on the topic – ‘Value of trade-offs’

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