What Price Are You Willing to Pay for Success?

Economics is mostly a crock discipline and profession. Its track record of success is little better than medieval medicine. We’re probably in the medieval period of economic understanding, in point of fact. But there is one thing that’s pretty on point – things have value because we’re willing to give other things up for them. That’s ultimately what a price boils down to in the end.

So what are you willing to give up for success?

It’s always a good idea to reread a particularly insightful and helpful book. You get a new perspective on the things inside it because of your experience with what it’s taught you. Also, new things stand out that you might not have paid as much attention to on the first go-around. So when I started How to Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big again, this passage stood out more than it did the first time around:

When you decide to be successful in a big way, it means you acknowledge the price and you’re willing to pay for it. That price might be sacrificing your personal life to get good grades in school, pursuing a college major that is deadly boring but lucrative, putting off having kids, missing time with your family, or taking business risks that put you in jeopardy for embarrassment, divorce, or bankruptcy. Successful people don’t wish for success; they decide to pursue it. And to pursue it effectively, they need a system. Success always has a price, but the reality is that the price is negotiable. If you pick the right system, the price will be a lot nearer what you’re willing to pay.

It’s a really good question and a good point that brings you down to earth. It’s easy to wish for and fantasize about success but not many people are really willing to give things that they like up for it, because there’s no immediate gratification. Success isn’t easy and far from certain.

Paper Mario Ending
In Paper Mario, Bowser wished for success with his Star Rod, but wasn’t willing to give up his ambitions of beating Mario and getting Princess Peach to like him, habits which never brought him success before. As such, he didn’t succeed…even when he became invincible!

So think for a moment about what you might have to give up for success to be possible, but not certain.

For me, one thing I’ll have to give up is some of my internet browsing habits.

Namely, I have a very bad habit of wasting a lot of time on forums, watching videos, and browsing the twitter feeds of some of my favorite people rather than working. It’s hard for me to stay focused on one thing for too long and browsing that way allows me to satisfy some of my flighty tendencies. I tend to do it while poking in and out of working on big projects, but before I know it, a long time has been lost doing nothing that will help me moving forward.

Changing my environment is a good way to overcome this, but that usually only lasts for a minority of the day, and it fluctuates with the seasons.

So I know that if I want success, I’ll have to give up these browsing habits, just for starters.

After you know some of the things you have to give up for success, the next step would be to construct a system that would make that payment as painless as possible and seamless in its operation.

Truth be told, constructing a system to avoid doing this is a difficult task. A computer connected to the internet will always leave you with the temptation to go off task and browse different, time-wasting parts of the web. While I can avoid interacting with such a computer when it comes to just writing something, working on other stuff like my Fiverr gigs and other upcoming freelance projects necessarily requires that interaction.

Here’s the blueprint of a system I can think of using:

  1. Get a tablet. For some reason, I think the more limited options a tablet provides compared to a full desktop or laptop computer would make me less prone to wasting my time with aimless internet browsing. For some people the opposite might be true, but for me this scenario is more probable.
  2. Change the environment more. I’d take my new tablet to the library or something when the winter months come.
  3. Proper posture. Scott Adams mentions in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big that slouching in your chair fires up the lazy wiring in your brain and therefore you’re more prone to veering off into the wilderness. I agree with him. The problem with this is that it’s all to easy to slouch anyway. So…
  4. Sit with your legs folded and crossed together. This forces your torso to sit upright. Or…
  5. Get a chair or accessory that necessitates proper posture when seated.
  6. Adopt a strategy that Robert Cialdini outlined in Pre-Suasion. Start writing a sentence and then, when I get the verge to stray, do it before that sentence is complete. The Zeigarnik effect (the tendency to remember and prioritize uncompleted tasks) and the human need for consistency will force me to come back to the work at hand before long.

Those are a few individual things that I can think of that, when used in concert, could do much to make giving up most of the mindless internet browsing easier. Of course, experimentation and responding to experience is the most important thing.

That won’t be the only thing I’ll need to give up for success, but it is one prominent thing that stands out. It might be the most important one, given the sheer ability of this habit to suck up many hours of my day.

So it must be with you. Decide that you want success rather than just wishing for it. Ask yourself what things you need to give up for success. Then try to construct a system that works in facilitating new behaviors and habits as easily as possible. This was one of the best pieces of advice in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and I recommend you check it out because there are many more pieces there to help you figure out the puzzle of success.

The persuasion blueprint in Stumped will help you do that also.