Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Give Up To Go Up

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way".  It's a humbling moment when one realizes that the person responsible for their current circumstances is the one staring back at them in the mirror.  Some learn this early.  Some need to be reminded.  And for some, unfortunately, they never quite learn this lesson.

When I was twenty years old, a mentor of mine sat me down and asked me to take out a pen and paper.  He then instructed me to draw a very large "T" on the sheet of paper.  On the top left he said to write, "Things I want".  On the top right I wrote, "Things I'll have to sacrifice or give up".

In his "Good 'ol Boy" drawl he said, "Bo, think carefully about what you want in life.  Be specific.  What type of car, how large of a house, how much money, etc. And write 'em down.  Now, on the other side, start thinking about the sacrifices you're gunna need to start makin' so you can get all them nice things!"

I started to have fun with this little drill.  I knew what I needed to do in order to accomplish my goals.....or so I thought.  When I was finished writing, the list of "what I want" was nearly three times as long as "what I was willing to sacrifice or give up".  He took one look at my list and said, "Bo, you got no chance".

I went on to learn that if we're not willing to list much on the right side of the page, we're not going to accomplish what we want on the left side.  This way of setting goals can help you immensely.  In order for us to go up, sometimes we need to give up.  What we need to decide from the onset is whether or not it's worth it.

For example:

Say you want to take your family on vacation to Europe.  You and your spouse are in total agreement, and are excited to start planning.  But, in order for you to afford to take this time off and pay for a lavish trip, you're going to have to start working more and saving for the next 90 days. It will require your spouse to pick up your slack in the form of cooking dinner, picking up and dropping off the kids, cleaning up, maybe missing a tee-ball game or dance recital.  Is it worth it??  Only you and your family can decide that one.

See, the idea of the vacation is great, but what comes after we make the decision is much more important.  The bigger the desire, the greater the sacrifices sometimes are.

If you want to live a healthier life, you're going to have to give up smoking and watching too much TV.  Is it worth it?  If you want to get out of debt, you're going to have to cut back on frivolous spending until you're back to even.  If you want your relationship to improve, you're going to have to push your ego and pride aside, and focus on the other person.

Someone always says there's a smarter, easier way to become successful.  The reason why people hate "Get Rich Quick" schemes is simple - they don't work.  Why would we despise something that worked and made everyone rich??  We need to pay the price, and enjoy the results.  Like Abe Lincoln said, "My father taught me how to work hard, not to love it."

That might just be good enough.  Fall in love with the results and accomplishments, and have enough industriousness to see it through.  Spend some time making your "T-List" and make sure that your goals and expectations are aligned.

What have you had to give up to go up??  How'd you see it through?? Was it worth it??

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