The Price We Pay

No regrets. No guilt.

Photo by Hadija Saidi on Unsplash

The big stuff

The question of choice has been at the heart of many religions. One of the early answers to the question of price has been some form of eternal tribunal, pre-existing or revealed morality rules, religious or natural laws. Philosophy has taken the relay or complemented it through the centuries, and no self-respecting philosopher could avoid talking about why and what choices we should make. This historical corpus will be the topic of a near future article. Essentially, there is a wealth of ideas on values and morality, rewards and punishments. The same culture of price we are hammered with through myths, legends, stories or dogmas.

The price to pay, a cause and effect logic to day-to-day life

We know that there is a price to everything we do. That much is clear.

The climate debate and how we disregard the logical price

As individuals, we seem to have too often difficulties matching cause and consequences in our decisions.


So, when do we take a decision? When do we make a choice?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Needs, aspirations and priorities. It’s personal

What you need and what you wish for (your aspirations) is profoundly personal. How you prioritise your needs, as well as your aspirations, is another personal choice.

There are many dimensions in our lives

These personal dimensions roughly map out to the basic needs of Maslow. However, Maslow’s classification is too broad to be actionable in day-to-day life. To make the classification of Maslow real to you, you will have to massively refine them.

We each have our own system. Like an orrery

In my previous article Balancing the Chaos, I explain how life can be compared to an orrery, a system of galaxies. Basically, each of us has its own “system”. This system has many layers, many dimensions. And they exist at the same time. However, our priorities will vary over time.

The ripple effect

Take any decision. Make any choice. You will pay a price. Small or large. Call it the ripple effect, or the complex impact across the satisfaction dimensions.

Accepting the price by anticipating the ripple effect

In my experience, we tend to think about the big decisions, and their “negatives”. We often forget the small choices we make, and the price we pay for them. We forget the ripple effect. I pay this for that. We tend to see decisions and the price attached as a simple picture.


Since you started reading, you may wonder: why should I spend so much time on this question? Why analyse and anticipate the price of my decisions?

Removing regrets from your life

The process of analysing the price, before taking a decision, cancels out the worst mind worm in your life: regrets, or guilt.

My story

I broke both my knees at 21 in a military exercise. I had just succeeded in my dream of becoming a career officer. The army means dangerous exercises. Going to war. Killing and dying. It is unlikely that I would have broken my knees if I had started my career in market research. In turn, it is unclear where I would have ended in market research without my past in the army. On the other hand, as one of the few true callings, I still would love to have stayed in the army. Yet, I don’t regret what happened to me.

Taking back control. Avoiding the what-ifs

Whenever you talk about logics and mechanistic understanding, there is always an underlying presumption of inevitability, even fatality. Understanding and anticipating the price to pay has nothing to do with inevitability.

How to set up an actionable plan for the price to pay

Once broken up into its constituent pieces, weaving an action plan seems rather straightforward.

Using cookie-cutter templates instead

Truth be told, our societies have always tried to sugar coat the price to pay, for everything.


When we say “we pay the price for”, we associate it primarily — consciously or not — to some negative outcome.



Blogger, Lookout, Market analyst |

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