In Finding Your Purpose, we established that nothing worthwhile is easy. When you are attempting to do something worthwhile, you will eventually encounter obstacles (running the gamut of manageable potholes all the way to humongous sink holes the size of the Grand Canyon) on your path to success. Knowing your “why” will remind you why you are pursuing that noble cause, but you also need to ask yourself just how important it is to you and what you are willing to do to achieve whatever it is you are trying you achieve.
Success means different things to different people. For some, success means money and the related trappings of wealth. For others, success means the freedom to pursue their passions. Yet still, for others, success means time to spend with family and the ability and capacity to develop deep and meaningful relationships. What does success mean to you?
As you determine what success means to you, it might be helpful to break out different categories of success. The more narrow, the better. For example, you could categorize success in the following areas: family, career, health, financial, etc. Another method would be to define success in the four main quadrants of life: spiritual, emotional, physical, financial.
No matter how you define success and what you determine success means to you, be aware your definition is subject to change. My definition of success, now at 31, is much different than my definition of success at 18. Back then, most of how I defined success revolved around money (yes, please), status (sure, why not), career (if I have to), material possessions (I’ll take ‘em all), etc., aka the American Dream.
Today, my definition of success centers around being the best husband I can be, being the best daddy I can be, providing for my family as best I can while still having an ample amount of time to spend with them and being healthy – emotionally, physically, and of course, financially. I have other definitions of success as well, but this sums it up pretty nicely for the purposes of this post.
How Bad Do You Want It?
This is one of my all-time favorite motivational videos. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I watch it, on average, a couple times a month and it always helps to keep my fire lit and give me the swift kick in the pants I need from time to time.
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”
What is “it?” “It” is your “why,” your motivation for doing the hard things, the thing(s) you want above all else. Pulling examples from the post on purpose, your “it” could be paying off a mountain of debt, losing weight, running a marathon, earning a degree, retiring early, achieving financial independence, etc. Just like with “personal” finance, your “it” is personal as well.
What are You Willing to Give Up?
“Sleep is for those people who are broke.” – 50 Cent
What are you willing to forego? What sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve your defined vision of success? Are you willing to miss out on some sleep? Are you willing to do things differently than your family or friends (at risk of being ridiculed)? Just as nothing worthwhile is easy, pursuing worthwhile causes often does not come without requisite sacrifices. Shall we look at a few examples?
- Goal: Getting out of debt
- Potential Sacrifices: No more recreational shopping, exchanging leisure time for time spent side hustling, skipping dinners out with friends, selling or downsizing some of your favorite possessions, etc.
- Goal: Losing weight
- Potential Sacrifices: foregoing or moderating some or all of your favorite foods, waking up early or staying up late to exercise, less relaxation time in order to exercise more, etc.
- Goal: Saving for retirement
- Potential Sacrifices: Buying less stuff, eating out less, selling some of your superfluous possessions online, spending time earning more money instead of lounging on the couch in your underwear binge watching Netflix (just me?), etc.
These basic and simplistic examples show that in order to achieve a goal, sacrifices often need to be made. What is viewed as a sacrifice is subjective and what one person sees as a sacrifice could be second nature for another.
Nonetheless, in order to become successful, we need to have a “whatever it takes” mentality and be willing to make sacrifices when and where necessary.
The good news though, is most of the sacrifices will only be temporary.
Understanding Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is defined by the omniscient Wikipedia as the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. Dave Ramsey exemplifies this sentiment with his oft quoted “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
As it relates to success and achieving your goals, delayed gratification essentially means to sacrifice in the short-term by doing the hard things, so in the long-term you can experience the gratification of accomplishing those goals – enjoying the fruits of your labor, if you will.
Most, if not all, of the sacrifices to achieve a particular goal will be temporary or relatively short-term in nature. Once the hard work is done and the goal is accomplished, be it losing weight or getting out of debt, most of the sacrifices made on the journey to reaching the goal will no longer be necessary. At this point, you will be moving from kickin’ butt and takin’ names, hustle and grind mode to maintenance mode (also really important, lest you revert back to your old ways).
Once you know your motivation and purpose and decide you want it more than anything, you will be a force to be reckoned with, unstoppable and unrelenting in the pursuit of your dreams and goals. Decide you want it bad, like real bad, and get out there and make it happen, Cap’n.
What does success mean to you? What are you doing to achieve success in your life? What sacrifices are you currently making? Do you have a favorite motivational quote or video?