Lance Scranton: Opportunity cost
December 16, 2014
During the holiday season, you'll have the opportunity to do something for someone in need or make something right, and for most of us, it will come down to being available. It's an "opportunity cost" and it reveals much more about our true nature than we care to admit. Most of our holiday schedules will be so packed that the cost of opportunity will outweigh the benefits.
We have the ability to calculate just about everything we do these days, including helping others. Availability is at a premium and the business of life keeps opportunity cost high. It makes perfect sense to avoid the opportunities using logical reasoning and quantifiable rationalizations.
Helping those less fortunate has never really been about how it might benefit us, but our culture strives to make it so. Organizations are so much better at the "messiness" of sifting through the "needs" of those who require help. Just look at the facts; people are not to be trusted and we can be taken advantage of and maybe even ripped off! It makes sense! It's logical!
But what about the stranger? Shouldn't generosity be extended to our entire community? How about a co-worker who needs some support? Shouldn't work be a place where compassion is encouraged? What about our neighbors? Shouldn't kindness start in our own neighborhood?
Availing yourself to be able (available) requires sacrifice, and we each calculate our own opportunity cost. It isn't really that complicated to be honest, to offer a helping hand or a few minutes of our time, but if it's always about the cost, then we've abandoned a valuable part of our humanity.
This time of year reminds us that investment in each other will always cost us something of ourselves. Maybe this holiday season we could all leave a little room in our schedule to be available for an opportunity that might just make someone's Christmas (and life) a little brighter.