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Lesson Twenty-Three — The Cost of Success

As I mentioned several chapters ago, most authorities on the subject of success planning suggest that you establish very specific goals, write them down, develop a plan with milestones, and follow that plan with absolute dedication.If you do, you can achieve anything.This is absolutely true, however, there is no such thing as a free goal.If your goal is worth anything at all, it probably will not be very easy to achieve.In other words, there is always a cost.I just don’t believe that most people’s goals are important enough to them to make the sacrifice required to achieve their goals.

When you establish a goal, and write it down and develop a plan and dedicate yourself to following that plan, it requires real commitment and focus.Depending upon how ambitious your goal is, and how difficult your plan of action is, you will have to focus on this plan, possibly to the exclusion of many other things.

Any goal worth having is going to cost you something.If your goal is to save $100,000 by your twenty-fifth birthday, you are going to have to write it down, you are going to have to believe in it, you are going to have to develop a plan for it, and you are going to have to sacrifice.You are going to have to work longer and harder than everybody else.While they are out playing, you will be working.You are going to have to spend less money than everybody else.While your friends are out partying, you will be working toward your goal.When your friends are spending, you will be saving.

If your goal is to be a pediatrician (that’s a doctor for children), you are going to have to take harder classes, study harder, and perhaps not be able to play a sport in college, be called a nerd, and miss a whole lot of television and video games.

If you want to be an actor or actress, you are going to have to try out for the school play, perhaps take some embarrassing role, like playing a carrot or a tomato.You are going to have to work at it, study it, and probably move to New York or Los Angeles and live in a box.You are going to have to wait tables and accept lousy parts for little or no money, barely being able to feed yourself.You are going to have to audition for hundreds of parts and be rejected.And, in the end, you may never be able to earn a living at it.This is called sacrifice.

When I was a kid, my friends and I played football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, track, everything we could.We played them all and had a great time.Then again, none of us ever really amounted to anything, at least as far as athletics are concerned.

Nowadays, young boys and girls are encouraged to become very sports-specific at a very young age.They focus on one, or possibly, two sports.For their parents, this becomes a matter of grand strategic planning.They are setting a goal for young Timmy or Sally and have come up with a plan.

The plan is that Timmy and Sally are going to get full scholarships for playing soccer in college.They are going to move to Binford when Timmy graduates from eighth grade because Binford High is number two in the state for boy’s soccer and number one for girls.This means that they are going to have to play on the junior high team, as well as the recreational league, in order to get good enough to start all four years at Binford.Most of the other kids are playing soccer full-time in sixth grade, so in order for Timmy and Sally to have the best chance against the other boys or girls, Timmy is going to have to give up baseball and basketball in fourth grade.Sally will have to forego swimming and field hockey.

Once in a while, this plan actually works, encouraging other parents to do the same thing.Setting aside for the moment whether or not this is something that Timmy and Sally really want to do, what is the real cost?

First of all, they never got to enjoy playing a lot of different sports when they were young just for the fun of it.They will also never know whether or not they liked any of the other sports better than soccer.And they will never know whether or not they would have been better at any of those other sports.Is this a real cost?I think so.Is it worth it?I do not think so, but I can only speak for myself.

So, what does all of this soccer stuff have to do with this book?In previous chapters, I have tried to convince you that you must establish goals and a plan in order to succeed at anything.You also have to stick to that plan and dedicate yourself to it.By doing so, you are going to miss out on other things.For example, if your plan is to get a 4.0, you may not be able to play three sports, or hold a part-time job.You should take this into consideration when setting your goals.

One of the most common reasons that people fail to achieve their goals is because they did not factor in the cost right from the beginning.It is like going on a diet.You want to lose ten pounds so you are going to give up all candy, cake, soda and ice cream, and run two miles a day.That’s the cost.Most often, the dieter determines that the cost is too great, the goal is abandoned and the weight returns.

You are going to have to compare the benefit or the value of your goals with the level of sacrifice you are willing to make to achieve them.Is it worth missing Saturday nights hanging out with the gang, so you can save enough money to buy that car?I don’t know.Maybe not.You have to decide for yourself.Is it worth studying an extra hour each night to get straight A’s?Again, you have to decide for yourself.

As you can see, there is a cost.The question is, is it worth it?When setting your goals and determining whether they are right for you, you must factor in the cost.This is so important; I have to repeat it again.You must factor in the cost.

Be realistic.Do not underestimate the cost and sacrifice.If you do, you are going to be disappointed and give up.Is it worth it?That is, is it worth it to you?If it is not, you might as well cross it off the list, because you are never going to achieve it.My father is a portrait painter.In fact, he is an excellent portrait painter, if I must say so myself.Often I hear people say, “I would do anything to be able to paint like that.”What they really mean is that they would do anything, except what it really takes, that being to work at it like a mad fool five or six hours a day every day for ten years, or so.Do you think you would be able to paint beautiful portraits if you invested that much time and energy into it?Of course you would!

Goals should be something that helps you focus.They should not take control of your life.Goals should add value to your life, not take away from it.For example, giving up all of your friends as well as after school and weekend activities in order to get straight A’s is not worth it, in my opinion, because you would be giving up too much.You need to weigh one against the other.Have some balance in your life.

Everybody has to make their own decision about whether or not their goals are worth the cost.Like everything else, you have to weigh the good against the bad.Just keep in mind that in order to achieve your goal, you are going to have to focus on it.You are going to have to dedicate yourself to it, and by doing so, you are going to miss out on doing other things.

Playing outdoors

You can do anything you want to and become anything you want to become, provided you are willing to pay the price.  Sacrifice.  That’s the cost.