Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

The above question represents one of my favorite questions of all time. I first heard it in a horrible movie (the movie was so bad I’m not going to share the title), and since then I’ve used it hundreds of times.

What I like about it is that it forces me to wrestle with the “why” behind the dilemma: Is the benefit worth the pressure it is going to put on life? Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Here is a great example: I could get done with seminary in less time if I took more classes per semester. The juice is that I get done faster, the squeeze is that the seminary workload might throw my life over the edge. In this case the juice is definitely not worth the squeeze.

In this example the question acts as a great filter: Is it worth it? No. So then I move on to the next idea or thought.

The versatility of this question though is that it reminds me that there will be juice, there will be an outcome if I’m willing to deal with the squeeze.

This happens all the time with my kids. Do I really want to argue with my eleven-year-old about his reading habits? No, I don’t really want to. It is a pain, and he whines so it would be much easier to let it go. Then I remember the juice: I want to raise a young man who is educated and articulate. Leaders are readers. In this case the juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

Not only does this saying apply to external situations, but also to many things in your life.

Is the juice worth the squeeze in…

-       Your hobby?

-       Going to the gym?

-       Your side job?

Or maybe we get even a little more personal:

Is the juice worth the squeeze in…

-       Your one friend who upsets you every time you speak over the phone?

-       Living up to the expectations of others?

-       Keeping systems alive because they’ve “always” been that way?

I think this is such an important question because when we get to what the real “squeeze” is in our life we can finally get a clear picture on whether or not that squeeze is really worth it. Everything you do, every relationship you are in, every choice you make – all of them “squeeze” your life in some way. They cost you time, emotional energy, resources: Is the juice (what you’re getting out of them) worth the pressure they’re putting on your life?