昨日サンダーの大会をまた応援しに行ってきました。品川の大井(市?)での21キロロードイベント。全日本ツールみたいな大きな大会の前のレースでした。前日連絡が取れなかったので家から自走で行きました。30分で終わった大会を、往復6時間走りました。つまり見るために12倍の時間をかけました。

幸せなもんだね~

実は、仕事がありましたけど、どうしても走りたくて、今遠慮すると一日ずっと後悔しながら集中できず仕事が終わらないと思って、走ってしまいました。サボりの言い訳のように聞こえるんですが、やっぱりそうでした。つまり、おとなしく仕事をするか、子供みたい遊ぶか、との選択を楽しいほうを選んで、それで幸せを得て、元気になって、仕事が予想よりも2時間早く終わらせられました。

ケッチな人はこう言うかもしれません。仕事が予想よりも2時間早く終わらせるために6時間走らなきゃいけなかったので、結果は4時間の無駄でした。しかし、ちゃんとした経済学者がこんな答えをします。とりあえず走りたかった。走るんなら、何時間走るつもりだったでしょうか。たとえば応援しなければ、仕事をしてから2時間ぐらい走るつもりであったかもしれません。そうすると加えた時間が6時間じゃなくて4時間だけでした。ひく2時間イコール2時間の赤字です。しかし、仕事が、多くの場合には予想通りには終わらないものです。人間のよくある間違いは時間を underestimate することです。だから予想よりも大体2~3倍ぐらいの時間をかかったりすると思えば良いのです。特に頭を回す仕事の場合。これを考慮すると、予想よりも2時間早く終わってはいなくて、7時間早かったのです。なぜなら最初は頑張れば5時間ぐらいで終わらせられるだろうと思っていました。かける2倍で、10時間ぐらいが正しい予想でした。より2時間早く終わったということは3時間で終わったわけです。ということは、節約した時間は全部で3時間の黒字でした。

まあ、結局これも遊びたかった言い訳かもしれません。けど、この世界では思うように遊ぶことがかなり難しいです。怒る人が、家族でもあり、上司や先輩、どうりょうでもあり、非常に多いのです。だが、人生は一つしかありません。その人たちのものではなく、自分のものです。喜びも、悲しみも、遊びも仕事も、全て自分で負えなきゃいけないのです。

だから昨日の経験はこう思います。どう見ても悩んだときに楽しいほうを選ぶほうが正しいという証拠でした。


English

Yesterday I went to cheer another of Thunder’s races. It was in Shinagawa, or Ooi or someplace on the opposite side of Tokyo from me. The race was just a precurser, a sort of opening act, for the Tour of Japan and it was only 21 kilometers long. I wasn’t able to connect with Thunder the day before, so I just decided to ride there on my bike. It took me something around six hours of riding to see a race that was over in under thirty minutes and I didn’t even know if I would be able to find him when I got there. In other words I spent twelve times the effort just for the chance to see an event.

This is the stuff of happiness.

In truth, I actually had work to do that day. However I also had a distinct sense that if I held back now in the name of responsibility, that I would spend the whole day regretting it, dragging my feet, and not being able to get anything done anyway. It turns out my feeling was right. When faced with the choice of acting like an adult and tending to my responsibilities, or going out on my bike to play like a kid, I chose the direction of most happy and as a result I simply overflowed with energy and managed to finish my work in two hours less than my original estimate.

A stuffier human would say, “So you saved two hours of work, but you had to spend six hours on the bike to do it. You’re not ahead, you’re actually four hours in the hole!” But a proper economist knows better. First, she would say, we have to calculate the opportunity cost. If you had chosen to stay home and work, how many hours would you have ridden that day? Let’s assume conservatively that it was two hours. So your ride across town wasn’t a six hour cost, it was a four hour cost because those first two hours were dedicated to riding anyway. And then, how much time did you save? You didn’t just save two hours, because humans are chronic underestimaters of the amount of time it takes to complete a task, particularly tasks that involve lots of brain work. My times are usually 2-3 times longer than what I estimate. So since I was expecting five hours to complete my work, a wise estimate would have been ten. Since I finished in two hours under my expectation, that means I finished in three hours instead of ten hours — a total savings of seven hours of time! When you put the two together I spent four hours on the bike to save seven hours of work for a net gain of three solid hours!

In the end this, too, is just a fancier excuse for going out to play on my bike. But you know, in today’s world it is ever so difficult to play. Between our bosses, colleagues and coworkers, even our family, we are surrounded by people who would criticize us for wanting to have fun instead of work. But the thing is, we only get one life and we are the ones who have to live it, not them. The work and the play, the joy and the sorry, it’s all ours to bear alone.

For that reason this is the way I think of yesterday’s events: When you are faced with the choice between happiness and responsibility, choose in the  direction of happy every time. My experience is proof that this is the unequivocal best from every possible angle.

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