What no one mentions: tradeoff.
The biggest challenge in running a business is to quantify and decide the tradeoffs to be had. Coming from an economics background, everything I see are opportunity costs and tradeoffs. I’d manage my resources to get the best optimal outcome. But in recent months, I realised I need to start realising these tradeoffs.
Time is the only constant and constrain. That means I want to be intentional about how I spend my time. I am grateful that I am not really the type of person who likes a lot of social gatherings. I don’t really have FOMO, and I could not careless about what’s going on outside. Missing dinner? I prefer my own company. Missing the latest rave? I prefer house parties with my favourite people. Missing the next new shiny thing? I truly enjoy being alone in the office working more than going out meeting new boring people.
But I am too curious and excited about way too many things. I want to do them all. I want to play tennis, learn golf, read 100 books, know (not understand) quantum physics, apply mechanical physics, speak options, practice french, define personal style, reflect and improve on my weaknesses.
And on the social level, spend time with family, listen to their problems, be there for friends, speak to my friends individually regularly, brainstorm with them, debate on topics, share ideas, discuss concepts, learn together, and all the personal romantic relationship things.
And herein lies the problem. Starting a company and constantly improving oneself is to decide on what you have to accept as a tradeoff and give it up. It’s to choose what matters most now and the rest can be addressed in the future. It took me a while, but I decided and focused on what matters now.
That means deleting the “nice to have” in life. That means saying no to social dinners. Saying next time to catching up with some friends. Deleting some people. Being intentional with how I want to spend my time.
This is just part of growing up and being selective in who is within my Dunbar’s number of care.
The harder part is company tradeoffs. Deciding what is right for the company and not oneself is just a tad more stressful. But it’s okay. I’m learning and managing every single day.
I want the hard parts.
I’ve had countless of offers for both employment status and investors coming in. In the end, I decided that nope, I’m not doing either. Sure, it’s good to risk on other people’s capital, but I want to do this. I want to experience all the hardship. I want to suffer. I want to learn from ground up and hence build the right fundamentals because I actually know by experience. It’s weird to say this, I know. But I truly want the suffering. I think it makes success so much more fun. After all, it is the journey not the destination.
There are some days that are so hard. Some nights, I cry because it is quite stressful. And that is okay. That is just part of the process. During these times, I am reminded and am so grateful for the friends that I have, the support, the family and the strength that I have in me. I want this.
So what if the other path comes with a stable check at the end of the day. I’m not in for the money. I’m not in for the “iNfLueNcEr” status. It’s really boring to make money and then what. Money is just an enabler. It is a tool to get somewhere. I found my somewhere — and that is to build and redefine what economics is going to be in the future. Money helps me by getting more people to research, to test, to do whatever. I love what I do.
I think I’m in love with my area of expertise. Like a drug. Obsessive over what I do. It’s more than the business. It’s the entire space. I’m insanely in love.
It’s easy to stop. It’s not about laziness — just different priorities. But I am passionate about educating people these new concepts that I found. So to be consistent with the weekly videos, it also means that I have to be religious about how I spend me time. I want to be consistent even when no one is looking. Because I’m not making videos for them. (Selfishly, it’s for me. Because sometimes I forget and the videos have the information I need.)
That means a trade off in other things that are less of a priority. And that is ok.
Make A Choice
Keeping the hardest for the last.
It is about making a choice. I wanted to do so many things in a short amount of time. I could not do that. The tradeoff is to choose what I want to do and double down on that. It took me a long time to decide. It’s silly because decision is easy. Just make it. But it takes a while to think about it and make a choice to decide how to execute and what the next steps are.
Making a choice is important and hard. It means to realise what you are trading off. What I’ve decided better jolly well work! :p