Point Totals

Maximizing on any one metric is almost always a bad strategy.

The further you try to push into one domain, the greater the sacrifices. Consider the sacrifices you’d have to make in order to go for a jog this week. Probably not very extreme, right? Now consider the sacrifices necessary in order to compete in the hundred-meter dash at the next Summer Olympics. Significantly greater!

Not only greater, but exponentially greater. That means that if we roughly organized “running” as having 10 distinct levels of seriousness, with Level 1 representing “going for a jog” and Level 10 being “winning a running-related Olympic event,” then the sacrifices necessary to go from level 1 to level 2 do NOT equal the sacrifices necessary to go from level 9 to level 10. Level 10 isn’t, in other words, ten times the effort of level 1. It’s more like 10,000 times.

That means that, overall, you’re probably better off as a whole person by aiming for level 4-5 in most things that are important to you, level 6 or 7 in maybe a few really vital things, and then level 1-3 in a bunch of fun stuff.

You can cook dinner for your family, enjoy a game of golf with your buds, and change your own oil while being at level 1 in “cooking,” “golf,” and “car maintenance,” respectively. You might have to sacrifice all of that and more just to move from Level 4 to Level 5 in “having a job,” though.

Just be careful – the only “level” that really matters is “happiness in life.” Pick the point spread that maximizes that one.

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