Friday, July 20, 2007

When should we give up short-term?

Common problem. You are in an unusual bad mood, some extreme stress, or whatever.

You feel that it is hard to keep control. Reason also says that some things can be given up at hard times. Is it true?

A rational calculation says that the value of cheering yourself up is higher in hard times, so the revenue from something (like a high calorie snake, or other mischevious acts) is relatively high. Also the cost of holding yourself up is sometimes higher in tough times. Maybe save some of the self-control ability to more urgent current goals? *

But the "expensive" actions are of two kinds. long term costs verus short term costs.

Long term costs: Spending instead of saving, entails long term costs. For that the reason of "now it is more cost effective to spend money" maybe wise.

Short term costs: Giving up and eating some heavy food. Spending concentration ability on a computer game that only makes you immedyately less focused and much more depressed. Not sleeping on time.

All these things bear immediate costs. So in a sensitive time, their cost may actualyl go up. Getting the stupid feeling in hard times is even more costly in bad times.
Contrary to intuition, hard times is when self-control against short termish costing behavior is most important.

Bottom line. In hard times it maybe worthwhile giving up on things whose cost is long termish, since in hard times the value of seering yourself up is higher. For mischevious actions costing in the short term, the opposite. Be even more disciplined than relaxed time. Now is the time when short term costs are most costly. And life balance etc. most important.

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