Tenant

I’m fascinated by the ways we interact with ourselves. So much so that I’ve explored concepts of what it’s like to consider yourself multiple people on the same team, how to identify and defeat your own internal enemies, and how to consider yourself your own boss (and to treat yourself like a multi-person company).

But I’ve got a new one – you are your own landlord. You are your own tenant. You are renting your body from yourself.

And you have to pay the rent.

Here’s the upshot of this: your existence has maintenance costs. Every second you exist costs some amount of money. You are constantly using up calories, taking up space, and consuming resources. Those things aren’t free.

Now, a simple economic concept: in order for a voluntary trade to happen, both parties have to be better off. In order for me to willingly give you two dollars for a cup of coffee, you have to be better off with two more dollars and one fewer cup of coffee, and I have to be better off with one more cup of coffee and two fewer dollars. So generally, voluntary trades made without coercion improve the lives of both parties.

Now, the same is generally true when you rent out the capabilities of your body and mind to someone else. You give someone else 40 hours of your existence, and they give you a thousand bucks. They’re better off with 40 extra hours of your time and a thousand fewer dollars, and you’re better off with a thousand more dollars and 40 fewer hours.

So great, voluntary trades improve lives. Now imagine that you were both halves of that equation.

You can sit around, idly consuming resources for no real benefit. Or you can find ways to trade with yourself.

Consider: would you be better off if you had two fewer hours of watching television, but a hundred more dollars? Yes – in both directions. So make that trade; pick up a little side hustle, sell something online, etc.

Pay the rent you owe yourself. Be both halves of the trade, and be better off twice.

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