At different stages of life, we prioritize what matters most to us. When we’re young, we care about money and trading our time for it. As we reach mid-stage, we care about making more money and doing work that interests us. As we get older, we care about freedom.
Most of us crave the optimal state of all three at once.
Oftentimes, we have to select one or two of the above to focus on and accept the opportunity cost. Work that you’re passionate about may provide freedom and autonomy, but not compensate well. An aspiring musician or a fluid art painter love what they do, but don’t make a ton of money.
Work that pays well may not provide freedom and is interesting at first, but feels mundane after a while. An investment banker working 80+ hours per week or a sales manager at a car dealership. The work isn’t particularly interesting, but pays very well.
Naval Ravikant talks about this idea of health, wealth and time.
- When you’re young, you have health and time, but not money.
- When you’re middle aged, you have health and money, but no time.
- When you’re old, you have time and money, but not health.
Life is about understanding opportunity costs and trade offs.
So, make the choices that you care most about. Money doesn’t matter if you have no interest in the work or no freedom. Passion doesn’t matter if you make no money. Freedom and autonomy only matters when you pair it with passion and some money.