Recently, I went through a rather large realization. I was unhappy! How could I be unhappy traveling the world with my husband? As any good daughter does, I went to my mother with questions. Why am I unhappy? Should I come back home and give up? However, unlike most mothers, my mom didn’t just give me simply life advice or the answer she wanted. She gave me life advice as someone who’s been in management for quite a long time.

She told me that everything was a cost-benefit analysis. (After telling me that she would love me to come home but knew that I wouldn’t like it.) She said that I have to think about the costs and what I get from them. Only then can I decide what’s best, just like in business. Sure, I missed being around family and didn’t have many friends due to constant travel. However, I traveled all the time! Not to mention I was saving good money not living in a big city in the States.

It’s Goes Further

After a bit of thinking, I knew she was right. I was going to stay and be happy. I looked at my life and decided I wanted to look at the positives and continue to grow while I was over here. However, that’s a story for another time. This lesson/thought/post is about looking at the cost versus looking at the reward in life and in a few key hot topics.

A few weeks after the conversation with my mom, I was talking to a different family member when the environment came up. Now, I’m the type of person that cares about the environment quite a bit. Much like a boy scout, I’m a “leave no trace” type of person. As such, I am flexitarian (eat less meat, cause, hey, I’m still southern), avoid single-use plastic, and do that I can to reduce my impact on the world. I think climate change is real and something we’ve done to the Earth.

On the other hand, said a family member doesn’t think as I do. They’re the type of person that thinks the world gets hotter and colder and there’s nothing that we can do about it. While they might try to reduce some trash, they could care less about carbon, red meat, or what’s happening to the trees.

What Does That Have to do With Anything?

After debating for awhile, I remembered what my mom told me. It was then that I asked what would be harmed if they used less plastic, ate less meat, and used less energy. The response? Nothing. Sure, eating less meat might be awful for a professed “carnivore.” However, it would help not only the environment but their health as well. Using less plastic would clean the ocean at the cost of a reusable bottle.

While not everything is quite as simple as this, my family member ended up agreeing with me. It taught me something important. We’re often so focused on doing X because it helps our X belief that we never stop to think about taking a different approach.

Sometimes The “Right” Thing Can Happen for a Different Reason

It can be hard to remember that each person we fight with truly believes what they are fighting for is the right thing. That’s what can make fighting to change a belief so hard. Rather than focus on beliefs, it’s important to focus on how we can work to achieve what we both want. This is a compromise; however, compromise is a hard thing to start. Rather than start by saying, let’s meet in the middle, start by saying “what will doing what they want hurt and what could it help?” Then let them do the same to you. Sure, you won’t like everything you get, but a 100% win is never a good starting point.