Paralyzed by opportunity costs? Here are 3 strategies to make better decisions.

Building Blocks: Actionable insights to build an Intentional Life

Hey everybody,

Here’s another batch of actionable insights to start your week off right, so you can be more intentional with how you live, work, and create.

Let’s get started.

​Insight 1: Life is about sacrifice

How do you weigh the pros and cons when it comes to opportunity costs?

When committing to one thing means cutting off access to other opportunities, it’s hard to decide which path is right for you.

I recently did a workshop for content creators on overcoming limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors, and this question came up.

Here’s the reality…

Life is about sacrifice.

The issue is most people are unintentional with the sacrifices they make.

If you want a simple heuristic to be more intentional with the sacrifices you make and make better decisions, check out this behind-the-scenes video of me answering their question:

​Insight 2: Default to No

When you’re starting out, it’s important for “yes” to be your default when a request comes your way.

It’s how you build a track record for success, increase your luck surface area, and build an incredible network of inspirational friends and colleagues.

But eventually, you get too busy and can’t accept every request to:

  • Somehow obligate yourself to be someone’s full-time mentor
  • Do a podcast interview
  • “Pick your brain”
  • Collaborate

Or other legitimate offers you don’t have the bandwidth to entertain.

Because, you know…opportunity costs. Now, every time you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to dozens of others.

But defaulting to “no” frees you up to say “yes” to what matters.

You need a way to quickly decline requests—without being an asshole and burning a potentially awesome bridge in the future.

Lucky for you, Josh Spector walks you through how to create your own “No Template” in this article.

Check it out if you need help defaulting to no in an authentic, respectful way.

​Insight 3: Make fewer decisions

How many decisions do you make in a year?

How many of those decisions lead to the greatest outcomes?

We’re talking about the different facets of opportunity costs in this issue, so maybe the fewer decisions you make, the less time you’ll waste agonizing over all the opportunity costs attached to each.


According to Nat Eliason, you only need to make four great decisions per year to dramatically improve your life:

“When you reflect on the last few years of your life, how much has been determined by a few great decisions?

​To commit to, or separate from, that one person?

To start, or quit, that job or business?

To focus on, or deprioritize, that area of your life?”

Because there’s a difference between being productive and being effective.

Being productive is making 1,000 decisions a year (you get the satisfaction of checking them off your to-do list).

Being effective is identifying the few decisions that actually matter.

Nat’s article walks you through how to be more effective with the decisions you make.

So you can spend more time doing and less time deciding.

Give it a read, if you’re curious.

​Question for the Week

What is one sacrifice you’re willing to make this week that would significantly improve the quality of your life or move you closer to your goals?

​Coaching Corner

This week’s question comes from Nathalie:

“How do we balance our big aspirations with our daily commitments and responsibilities?”

This is less about balance and more about prioritizing.

Because every ounce of time, energy, and attention you spend on low-leverage tasks (commitments and obligations), the less you have for what matters.

If you’re drowning in commitments and responsibilities, you’ll spend all day every day putting out small fires and bouncing from one task to the next…but you’ll never feel like you’re making meaningful progress.

I’m assuming you’re aware of the Eisenhower Matrix and how to delete, delegate, and otherwise outsource the majority of your tasks.

So I’ll also assume the commitments and responsibilities you’re talking about can’t be outsourced (but double check to make sure you can’t trim them down a bit).

So the real question is: What are your Needle Movers? The few tasks that move the needle the furthest toward your long-term goals and aspirations?

I love a Needle Movers List, because unlike a to-do list, you can finish it every day (because we all know to-do lists are never-ending).

Here’s a simple way to create your own Needle Movers List:

Ask, “What are the 1-3 highest-ROI tasks that, if I got nothing else done today, would move me the furthest toward achieving my long-term aspirations?”

Then do those first each day.

If you finish those and want to move on to lower-ROI stuff, cool.

If you only get your Needle Movers done, awesome. You still made significant progress for the day.

If you want a more in-depth rundown of this process, check out my Needle Movers List article for more ideas.

Got a question you want me to answer here?

Share Your Insights

Know someone who’d love this content? Share it with them!

My goal is to help people be more intentional with how they live, work, and create.

So if you enjoy Building Blocks, I’ll be forever grateful if you help me spread these insights by sharing this issue with one other person you think would find it valuable.

And if someone forwarded this to you, check out past issues and subscribe here:

Until next time—memento mori,


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