Chapter 3


Most of us, whether we realize it or not, tend to adopt a trade-off mindset in thinking about the different facets of our lives. We assume we’re playing a zero-sum game.1 In other words, we see the different aspects of our lives as a fixed pie, with our time and attention divided into set slices, and we believe gains in one area of life, whether it be in our work or in our family relationships, automatically come with losses to the other areas.2 The desire for a larger slice here means a smaller slice there.

While we don’t deny that trade-offs exist, our research has shown that it’s fruitful to adopt a more expansive attitude, in which trade-offs are not the default assumption. Instead, we can seek opportunities ...

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