What does success mean to you? Do you immediately think of how your life will look once you're "successful"? Oftentimes, when we think about success we think about all the positive side effects we hope will come with that success, like a comfortable salary, being an expert in our industry, or perhaps riches and fame. But rarely do I hear people talking about what they plan to sacrifice in order to reach that goal.
What if we reframed the narrative and instead focused on the sacrifices we're willing to endure to become our version of successful?
What are you willing to give up to get to where you want to be?
If you want to be wealthy and have a comfortable savings, then you may need to work in a field that generates a high income. You'll also need to understand how to be good with money and effectively invest those hard-earned paychecks. If being an expert in your chosen field signifies success to you, then you need to become an expert. That sounds pretty straightforward, but becoming an expert takes dedicated time and energy. So striving for success is not solely about the end goal, but about what you're willing to give up to get closer to that end.
Delayed gratification vs. instant gratification
Then there's the significance of patience and knowing that success takes time. It may be human nature to want to reap the rewards immediately, but in order to gain long-term success we must learn be comfortable with delayed gratification. For example, that could mean putting off spending money on things we want now so that our future self will have more money for long-term investments later. This goes back to the classic Marshmallow Test that set out to prove the correlation between delaying what we want in order to earn two-fold in the future.
The power of choosing your problems
In Mark Manson's acclaimed book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Manson explains that there will always be problems, so what problem would you like to have? He states, "Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another." He argues that what makes us human and gives us a sense of purpose is the desire to solve problems. If living a fulfilled life means overcoming problems, what type of problems would you choose to have in your life?
Most people know, on some level, that sacrifices must be made to achieve success. But it's a lot easier said than done. As soon as you shift your focus from the end result to viewing success as a lifelong process, you'll better understand what must be sacrificed along the way. Ultimately, success and sacrifice are personal questions that must be reflected upon by each individual. What are you willing to give up to get what you want?