Recently in Bali, my laptop died.
I had only two options:
The first of which was to send it to a not-so-local repair shop, wait for a diagnostic that would take days and then wait for a possible fix that might take anywhere from one to three weeks.
The second option which was to give up on the two weeks of airBnB rental costs I had already paid for and fly to China to immediately get my laptop fixed.
I chose the first option. It made sense economically because I wouldn’t lose the rent I had paid for and would allow me to enjoy another two weeks of Bali.
The decision turned out to be an extremely bad one. The diagnostic didn’t take days; it took an entire week. The repairs took another two weeks, and worse yet, they couldn’t fix it. They sent the laptop back to me, in a worse condition than when I had sent it off.
In the end, I ended up flying to China to repair my laptop anyways.
Although I was slightly upset at not having decided to choose option two and fly to China immediately, I realized that it was something I couldn’t have predicted. I couldn’t have known the repair shop would take as long as they did and still be unable to fix it.
What really made me upset was the fact that my decisions were fully based on what had made sense financially, rather than opportunely. The choice I made was purely based on the least amount of money lost.
And that’s where I made the mistake.
Money lost can always be made back again, but time that’s lost? It’s forever gone. Once you lose that time, you’ll never be able to make it back. The lesson learned this time from the laptop was expensive, not because of how much money I had to pay but because I wasted over three week’s worth of opportunities to have made more.
I wasted my time and my potential. It’s ironic in a way because I had been so focused on only what had seemed to make sense economically that I forgot about the concept of opportunity costs or what’s known as the loss of potential gain.
Time will always be more valuable than money. You can’t buy time with money, but money can always be made given enough time. This story is a reminder that sometimes we need to learn to cut our losses because it’s not about how much money we’re saving but rather how much of our time we’ll lose. Rather than focusing on what we have to lose, it’s better to see what we will stand to gain.
“Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.” — Samuel Smiles