It cost me about $100 to go to my friend's Christmas party. I had to buy a cheap flight from Vegas to San Francisco, and then a couple uber rides to and from the party.
On the surface, that doesn't make all that much sense to do. But I made a deal with myself—any time one of my good friends in SF invites me to something in SF, I will go, even if it's not quite worth it on paper.
My friends in SF are some of my closest friends. I love living in Las Vegas and have saved a ton of money in doing so, but if moving meant that I'd never spend time with my SF friends, the move wouldn't be worth it for me.
Sometimes the only way to unlock something valuable is to overpay for something else. The only way I can live in Vegas and still maintain important friendships is by overpaying most of the times I hang out with them. So overall it's a net benefit.
Another example is that I allow myself to purchase any travel gear I want, even if it's too expensive. This creates some suboptimal short-term decisions, but in the long run the benefits of having an extremely light backpack and being able to help other people travel very lightly make a net benefit.
Once in a while, even when I have very pressing tasks, I'll block off a day and just work on automating a bunch of small things. That's locally a bad decision, but globally a good one. Because I've done that fifty or so times in my life, almost everything in my life happens without my intervention. That allows me to be interrupted less frequently on future urgent tasks.
There are probably other areas, but the examples I can think of are all in terms of scarce resource allocation. We often have a tendency (or, at least I do) to hyperoptimize our time and money, but often times true optimization only happens when you look at the big picture.
Whenever I try to convince someone to move to Vegas, part of my pitch is: "Take half of the money you save and spend it without concern on making up shortcomings of Vegas. Love the beach? Go to Hawaii twice a year. Don't like the heat? Rent your place out for the summer and rent an apartment Sweden for the summer".
There's a tendency to agree to these deals with yourself, but then avoid following through because "the tickets are too expensive". But that defeats the purpose. If you can't follow through, you can't make these deals with yourself in the future. If I wasn't willing to fly to SF even when it's a little foolish to do so, I would either pay much more to live in a city I like less or I'd save money living in Vegas but rarely get to see some of my favorite people.
I love optimizing, and you probably do too, since you read my blog. Make sure you're optimizing the right things and that you're willing to "unoptimize" a few things to create a greater global optimization. Do things that seem wrong in the short term to create things that are right in the long term.
Photo is from Rivea at Delano in Vegas. I stayed there for a night, even though I live in Vegas, to block out 28 hours in which to finish my book. Stupid to buy a hotel room in the city you live in, but smart if doing so guarantees your book gets finished!
I moved to Cusco Peru from Maryland a few years ago. 1/4 the cost of living and higher quality of life. I take about 6 trips a year with the money I save to go to conference and see friends and family. Love the guilty free idea of spending more to get more happiness
I like your point about making sure "you're optimizing the right things," No point optimizing the hell out of your life if it does not make you happy. If it is purely need based, that is another matter...
Two more hazards of naive optimizing:
* Fragility (as opposed to antifragility)
* Get stuck in local minima. Need something like simulated annealing to break out.
I used to believe in unadulterated optimization but these two examples have really changed my thinking on it.
My question is, what is the endgame? When all of your friends have either moved to Vegas or died off, what then? When every action you could possibly take is automated, so you literally do not even have to expel your own waste, what then? I think inefficiencies are what we're born for. Life is inefficient. But at the same time, life may actually be the bumps.
At four thirty a.m. last night I finished wolfing down my table-side omelet, racked up my chips, cashed in, left Bellagio's poker room, and headed to the airport for a red-eye back to San Francisco. I've been to Las Vegas more times than I can possibly count, and absolutely love it. When people tell me that they hate Vegas, my knee-jerk response is to tell them that they're doing the wrong things in Vegas.
So this is my quick and dirty guide to Vegas. And let's be honest. what other sort of guide to Vegas could possibly exist?
I'm going to share one of my most powerful negotiating techniques. The funny thing is that up until a year ago, I didn't even realize this was a technique -- I thought everyone did this. But apparently not -- here's the backstory:
But before we get started, remember what Spiderman was told: "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." The technique I'm going to share with you can be abused, and when it is, you'll come off as a total jerk. That might be fine if that's what you're going for. But make sure you focus on using it responsibly. More on that at the end.