Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Opportunity Cost of Hard Work

Razib has some fascinating thoughts expanding upon David Brook's recent tautology of a column:
You read a book like Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids, and you understand the opportunity cost of focusing on a task where those with innate talent can easily beat those who have spent years honing their skills at the upper levels. Not that greatness in sports doesn't require hard work, obviously it does, but among the best the small hardwired differences mean that those who aren't as fast, strong or quick by their nature will lose.
More generally, the solution to all of life's problems cannot be simply more hard work. As Seth Godin points out in The Dip, sometimes you should quit, to focus on other stuff. I've found it to be more fun to focus on the niches in which I have a comparative advantage.