In 1998, I moved into a larger property where I needed a ride-on tractor to mow the grass. I bought what I could afford. To buy the next model up felt like too much of a stretch. The next model had a 42 inch mowing deck. The tractor I bought had a 38 inch cutting deck.
Every summer, for seventeen years, I’ve ridden that tractor, doing the mental arithmetic that shows how much less time I would spend mowing with a wider deck.
And the point is?
When we set out on something, we’re often unrealistic about the real cost, or the real investment we need to make.
When I had the choice, back in 1998, of buying the tractor that was appropriate, I ignored the long term consequences of my decision, and bought something I could ‘afford’. I didn’t imagine riding that tractor for seventeen years before I replaced it, nor try to calculate how much more grass I’d cut each time by having a cutting deck that was four inches wider.
You’re not going to be able to do the arithmetic accurately either, but just imagine my four inch wide strip of un-mown grass that’s seventeen years long. That’s a lot of grass and time.
I hope you can be more realistic about your investment decisions. What have you struggled with, or had some insight about after the fact?