We are really bad at understanding that every choice is a tradeoff (there are no free lunches). We’re even worse at knowing what we are actually trading.

Two examples that come to mind:

Buying vs. Renting a Home

Buying is always better! Or is it?

Most people view the tradeoff as ‘paying your own mortgage’ vs. ‘paying someone else’s mortgage.’

Really the tradeoff is ‘renting money’ vs. ‘renting space.’ Neither option is inherently bad or good, and each individual’s choice depends on a myriad of factors.

Internet privacy

More privacy is good. Less privacy is bad.

This isn’t even really a true tradeoff. But like all decisions, there is one to be found.

It’s ‘privacy’ vs. ‘functionality.’

If you want to stay 100% anonymous online your only option is to never use the internet. Not a very functional internet experience.

If you want a personalized Apple music experience you’ll need to set up a profile and allow Apple to collect data on your listening habits. For some people this might be too much of an invasion of their privacy. For others, the cost in privacy is lower than the benefit in functionality.