If you look in my wallet you won’t find much of the status quo. There are no photos of my family or friends. There are no love letters from girlfriends; or boyfriends for that matter. It is desolate, except for one fortune I received over thirteen years ago after a binge on Chinese food. “The road to success is often a lonely one.” This resonated with me despite the fact I was much too young to truly understand it’s meaning. I couldn’t relate to the words yet, but it triggered something in me at the time. Many years later I still read the fortune, but now I have a much better understanding and truly appreciate the accuracy of that statement.
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Everyone should have goals they strive for in life. Someone without a goal has no purpose. Their existence is a void. When you find that goal, the purpose you were put on this Earth for, you have to commit yourself to achieving it. If the goal doesn’t require your full attention and efforts to achieve, your goal is too small. You can never dream too big.
When you commit to achieving something great, all the small things in life fall by the wayside. You live every day working to get closer to your dream. Every action you take is well calculated and executed to bring you closer to being successful. You must accept no excuses and not allow obstacles to stand in your way. When you want it bad enough, enough to believe it is why you breath the air you do, you will kill to fulfill your commitment.
Being committed to achieving a dream will ultimately result in you having to make sacrifices. Most will have to sacrifice their social life, relationships, family, and free time. This is inevitable. It filters the weak out from the determined. If no sacrifices were required everyone would be as successful at their craft as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, or Brad Pitt.
One of the rules of economics is you always face trade-offs; there is an opportunity cost to every choice you make. If you decide to do Activity A, you cannot focus that time and energy on Activity B. For college students to get straight A’s they must sacrifice some weekend parties. The opportunity cost of staying in and reading law textbooks as compared to attending a party on Saturday night is too much sacrifice for many students.
- “I won’t be as popular.”
- “Drinking with my friends is too much fun.”
- “I need to relax and let some steam off.”
- “I need to get laid.”
There is nothing wrong with prioritizing these over getting straight A’s, to each their own. Everyone should do what makes him or her happy at the end of the day. That being said, those who are not willing to sacrifice for greater college success should not wonder why those who did sacrifice their Saturday nights performed at a higher level.
“The road to success is often a lonely one.” The sacrifices you make will often leave you feeling lonely, like a lone wolf hunting their prey. By skipping parties and not being as social as your peers it will feel like you are alienating yourself. Saturday nights in the library can often leave you feeling like a lone monk walking across the desert on a journey for self-discovery. I once heard a very successful person say, “I have few friends, but many associates.” The sacrifices they made to become successful cost them the ability to evolve their associations with people into deep friendships.
With success comes jealousy, resentment, and sometimes hatred. People look at those more successful and think it is some inherent gift bestowed upon them from a higher power. They fail to recognize the work the successful person put in behind closed doors. The truth is, many of your associates do not want to be your close friend.
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Before you dedicate your existence to a goal, you need to ask yourself if that goal is worth friendships? Is it worth feeling lonely on many occasions? If the answer is “no,” then the pursuit of that dream is not worth your time. You must have a dream you are willing to lose everything for.
If your dream is worth the time you must commit, the sacrifices you must make, and the loneliness you must feel, then the journey will be well worth it. Dreaming big, setting goals that many think are unattainable, give you the largest sense of accomplishment after completion. I often use the analogy that the harder you work during the day the better your bed feels at night.
Enjoy the journey to your success. Find pleasure in achieving the smaller interim goals on the way to your ultimate goal. The grind of becoming successful is often the most fun part. Once you have felt that euphoric high of succeeding, you cannot stand idly-by basking in your success for long. You’ll yearn for another goal, another purpose, another journey.
Tips for “The Road”
I have stuffed my face with many Chinese meals and capped everyone off with a fortune cookie. I have never found a fortune that burned in my brain like this one has. “The road to success is often a lonely one.” This applies to everyone who has a dream and wants to achieve something great. I hope this article makes you think and better understand what will be expected of you when you decide to be successful. This article is my oversized fortune to you…minus the dry cracker.
Keep these in mind:
- Commit yourself to an idea. A goal you want to achieve. Something you love and breathe for.
- You can dream too small, you can NEVER dream too big.
- Understand you will have to make sacrifices to achieve your goals. Success comes at a cost, those not willing to pay that toll will never maximize their potential.
- Prepare to be lonely. Many will not understand your journey and you will often have to go at it alone.
- Enjoy the pursuit of greatness. The journey will be worth your commitment, sacrifices, and loneliness.