price, life & exchange (and not sucking)

 

price exchange-place

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“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

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Well. Discussing price is always interesting. Whether it is about price in life or price as in wallet or I imagine even price of soul <head, heart, wallet>.

It’s all about the expense.

It’s all about the exchange.

Which, I imagine, ends up being about the value.

Look.

We make many decisions in life.

Every day.

Every hour.

Every minute.

In fact, I believe we make about 30,000 of the suckers a day.

And each decision is an exchange.

This is not only an exchange of doing something versus not doing something, but maybe more importantly, or of value, is the exchange involved in ‘what you have sacrificed in order to do something.’

Uhm

Yeah.

I typed the word ‘sacrificed.’

I use that word because, well, life is finite <unless you are a vampire>. To be clear, I am not speaking of “time is money”, this is more life is experiential and by doing something you will have sacrificed something else.

Yeah. I am speaking of “the exchange.” You hand over something and it will give you something in return.

Yeah. I am suggesting all your choices involve some exchange with Life and in doing so you are actually sacrificing some of the finite available to you, the Life line item on your balance sheet, as an expense for whatever choice you make. I am certainly not suggesting this is a zero sum game exchange, simply suggesting you are making a deal with Life.

I could argue this is the truest of true exchanges.

price of anythingI say that because you do not get it back. You have sacrificed it. It is gone. You may find higher value in other ways in the exchange, but the cost to you, the expense, the sacrifice, the deal you have made, means it is expended and gone.

All that to say there is truly only one value you can control in all exchanges. And that is what you do. You control your decision <or your choice>. You control your part of the deal.

Which leads me to ‘not sucking’ as the criteria in thinking about it.

Because if you are going to make some exchange then, well, you can, and should, control, or manage, not sucking.

This can mean not sucking as a person as well as doing some non-sucking thing or even making some deal to be able to actually do something that doesn’t suck.

“Life is about doing things that don’t suck with people who don’t suck.”

John Green

Is that too simplistic?

Shit.

I don’t know.

What I do know is we often over complicate Life.

We think, and think, and overthink, pretty much everything.

Therefore I tend to seek some simple guidelines for judging behavior <or choices>.

Not sucking seems like a pretty nice simple guideline.

It seems to feed into a more ‘higher thinking’ type criteria in that by ‘not sucking’ you seem to tap into what appearsto be some of the main sources of happiness: Pleasure, Challenge and Meaning.

Some psychologists have identified these as ingredients of happiness.  They can certainly be separate paths as well as combined in a variety of ways. I imagine, ideally, we would spend most of our time doing things that incorporate all three ingredients, but, alas, that just isn’t too realistic. So, in my mind, attempt to not suck.

In fact, ponder this with regard to not sucking and the sources of happiness:

Pure Pleasure: An immediate positive sensation <a derivative of hedonism>. Activities that are pleasant <but not challenging or meaningful as in purpose> like laughing at a joke, eating chocolate, walking in the sunshine, a good memory, reading, swimming in the ocean, listening to music, anything that feels good in that exact moment.

** not sucking maximizes the pleasure.

Pure Challenge: The sense of accomplishment we get after we did something that required us to use our skills to solve a problem or meet a challenge. Exercising, job projects, writing essays, reading a challenging book, even running for the bus. You may not enjoy the activity, but you feel satisfaction afterwards.

** not sucking enhances the likelihood to meet the challenge.

Pure Meaning: Any activity that we consider to be worthwhile and that has a greater purpose. Contributing to a social cause, working to pay the bills, helping your neighbor, going to school to get closer to your dream job, generally improving yourself … or even practical activities which are not difficult to do and not pleasant either, but have a higher purpose.

** not sucking translates into ‘I don’t suck as a person.’

I went through all that just to try and prove that ‘not sucking’ is actually quite a viable objective.

Well.

Maybe not a true objective, but rather if you believe Life is an exchange, than ‘not sucking’ is a viable value to put on a choice when considering you are sacrificing a portion of your finite Life in the exchange. Ponder.

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Author’s note:

I have a vision of Thoreau spinning in his grave over the fact someone associated his wise words with ‘not sucking.’

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Written by Bruce