What Are You Willing to Give in Order to Get?

Dear Jack,

In a similar line of thought from which I wrote previously on sowing and reaping – I have been dwelling on the idea of goals and achievement with balance in life.  I’m a subscriber to the theory of positive thinking, not in The Secret kind of way of magically manifesting thoughts into reality, but in truly believing that through hard work, God’s grace, and good stewardship of our talents, we can achieve a lot of what we put our mind and strength to.

However, I think we have to realize that in order to get something, we’re probably going to have to give something.  (Again, don’t confuse this with another theory of the Prosperity Gospel of giving to God so he’ll materially bless us).  Rather, look at your own life and think of what goals you’d like to achieve, and ask yourself what you’ll have to sacrifice to get there.  Here’s some personal examples.

I’d like to earn a six figure income on a regular basis.  I know what this will cost me – hard work, dedication to service, ongoing learning, courage in stretching beyond my comfort zone in prospecting.  And I reasonably know what I’m not willing to give to achieve the goal: diminished quality time with family, being dishonest, and operating on anything less than full integrity.  I’ve weighed out that I’m (mostly) ok with giving the previous list – but I’m certainly not ok with giving the latter.  I could probably short cut my way to hitting my earnings goal by working 70 hours a week and selling people stuff they don’t need – but I don’t want to do that.  I’ve defined success to be respected the most by people who know me the best.  I’m sticking to that.

That’s a positive example, one I feel I’m doing ok at.

A negative example: running a marathon.  This is something I think I’d like to do, although  sometimes I convince myself that I don’t want to when I realize what I will have to give.  Running a marathon requires a lot: time, dedication, pain, and probably less sleep to do my running in the mornings.  I’m not willing to give these things in order to get my goal of completing a marathon at this point in my life – and that’s a fact that I recognize.  I wish I could have the dedication to carve the 10+ hours a week to run, the discipline to plow through the mental and physical pain barriers, and the acceptance of less sleep – but I simply don’t.  I’m not going to get this goal without giving those things, and I realize that.  I sincerely hope some day I’ll write a letter on how I have achieved this, but right now I can’t.

My challenge to you is simple: ask yourself what you’re willing to give in order to get what you want.  Once you weigh the pros and cons (or once you count the cost before building the tower, to use biblical language), you’ll know whether or not your current goal is worth pursuing.  Till next time, Jack.



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