Keeping The Big Picture Will Lead to Better Life Choices
They’re considering eliminating over 100 bus routes in Boston to save money. You see, the public transit is considered a separate profit center. That means it has to pay for itself through the money it raises. In order to balance its budget, it must drastically reduce service.
The problem is that public transportation is part of a larger system. If it becomes too expensive, or the serviced drops too much, people will buy cars. Probably cheap cars. In addition to pollution, that will cause much more wear and tear on the highways, not to mention more congestion in an already highly-congested city. Let’s not even consider what it will do to the parking situation.
From the perspective of the community, the public transportation system isn’t just a standalone business. It also reduces the burden on other costly parts of the community. But since the subway doesn’t get any monetary credit for reducing congestion or roadway wear-and-tear, those positive effects aren’t reflected in the decision to eliminate the bus routes.
Your Life is a Community
You can think of your life as being an entire community, made up of projects and activities chosen to meet your needs. When we want to improve our lives, we find a need that isn’t getting met and try to focus on improving that part of our life in isolation.
For example, we may decide we need to get in better shape, so we begin working out regularly. But that much working out takes time, and we may not realize we’re taking the time away from socializing—which also fills an important need. Considering our needs in isolation can lead us to make decisions that may be good for the individual need, but not so great for our overall life.
Consider Your Whole Life When Choosing Action
When considering how to improve your life, don’t just consider one need or shortfall. Make a full map of the things that are important to you, and consider the overall balance of how you’re getting your needs met in each area. Then when you decide it’s time to improve an area, search for ways to improve that won’t detract from other areas of your life. When you decide to exercise, if you know socializing is also important to you, you can be on the lookout from day one for social ways to exercise. This can lead you to uncover entirely different approaches to getting your needs met. For example, signing up for team sports instead of choosing a solitary exercise program.