What does it take to be successful? No matter what your definition of success is, you know that it’s not easy to achieve it.
Even a simple definition of success like “I want to live life on my own terms” requires hard work. Every sane person who aspires to live a good life understands that.
But when people start talking about the things you have to give up for success, I think they are going down a dark path. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life; under no circumstances should you “sacrifice” anything.
“But what about all the hard work you’re talking about? I need to sacrifice all the other things I want to do.”
The answer to that question is simple. No one said it better than Tony Robbins:
“If you think it’s a sacrifice, you shouldn’t do it.”
Whether you like Tony Robbins or not, you can’t deny he successfully achieved his goals. He communicates his goals all the time. He talks about how he wants to feed millions of people. And then he does it.
When I started on this whole self-improvement journey, I thought I had to sacrifice things.
- “I can’t go out every weekend anymore.”
- “I can’t spend my money on useless things.”
- “I can’t go on holiday this year.”
- “I need to read every day.”
- “I need to stay positive.”
When you put it like that to yourself, it looks like you’re sacrificing many things in your life. But that’s the wrong way to look at it.
When you think you have to sacrifice something in your life in order to be successful, what do you think will happen?
You will build frustration and resentment towards yourself. And guess what happens then? That lofty goal that should have made you happy ends up making you miserable.
I live by a simple rule: If I think something is a sacrifice, I’m not going to do it.
I look at everything I do as a choice. No one forced me to work hard. Similarly:
- You’re not sacrificing your free time. You’re spending your time getting better at what you do.
- You’re not sacrificing fun. You’re getting smarter by reading a book.
- You’re not sacrificing a holiday and rest. You’re loving the grind.
Sure, everyone needs time off. In fact, I believe resting increases our productivity. I’m not talking about that here. It’s about the way we look at our lives.
If you change your mindset from” I’m sacrificing something” to “I’m choosing something,” you’re prioritizing your life. You are no longer looking at what you’re missing out on; instead, you look at what you’re getting out of your life.
You know, this idea of sacrificing things to become successful comes from our nature to compare our lives to others. Why do you think you look at things as a sacrifice? Compared to what? Exactly, you compare it to what others do.
“Well, so and so is having an avocado salad at a rooftop bar in SoHo.” Who gives a shit.
Work-life Balance Doesn’t Exist
Another challenge is that we still believe in the work-life balance. Let’s just settle that whole conversation right here. The dialogue always goes as follows:
- We work to pay the bills.
- And our work takes up 8-9 hours of our days.
- That means we spend the majority of our time working or going to work.
- In other words: Your work IS your life.
I’m always amazed when people talk about life and work as separate entities. You are your work. And your work is you. There’s nothing good or bad about that. It’s merely a fact.
Look, the solution to having a successful life is picking a career that fits your goals, lifestyle, and strengths. You want a job that doesn’t feel like a job.
“But how can I get a job I love so I don’t have to worry about work-life balance?”
You probably won’t like this, but here’s my honest answer: Prioritize learning over pleasure.
Get better at what you do. Find out what your strengths are, and work in a field where you can be part of the important minority (Price’s Law).
That means you always choose to improve your skills over going for drinks. That’s not a sacrifice. It’s a well-considered choice.