Some well meaning people will tell you that you shouldn’t struggle in life, that you should go with the flow and relax, that you will accomplish what you want to, just by being more positive, by vibrating at the right energy or that some higher power will take care of everything for you.
The reality is more practical than that. To get what you want you always need to do something or give up something.
You see, life is a transaction. A transaction between people, between organisations, between people and organisations, but a lot of the time it’s actually a transaction with ourselves. By transaction I mean – you give something to get something, and it doesn’t always have to be money changing hands.
Here are some examples of what you may need to give to get:
- If you want to earn more, you may need to give up more of your time
- If you want to travel more, you may need to give up more of your money
- If you want to sleep more, you may need to give up more of your socialising or earning time
- If you want to buy more, you may need to give up more of your savings
- If you want a more peaceful life, you may need to give up some relationships
- If you want a better body, you may need to give up more of your time and money to get to a gym or pay for a personal trainer
- If you want to be healthier, you may need to give up some of your bad habits
- If you want to achieve more at work, you may need to give up some family time
- If you want a better quality of life or work-life-balance, you may need to give up some of your earnings, earnings potential or time spent at work
- If you want to find Mr Right, you may need to give up your fear of being rejected and get out to meet people
- If you want to start your own business, you may need to give up the security of having a full time job
- If you want to get married, you may need to give up some of your personal space or independence
- If you want better relationships, you may need to give up your need to be right all the time
- If you want better relationships, you may need to give up more of your time so you can spend it with the people you want to get closer to
- If you want to start your own business, you may need to give up some of your sleep or peace of mind
- If you want to take time off work after having a baby you may need to give up your position at work or give up your earnings
Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s an exchange of time, resources, money, freedom, potential, peace of mind, to name but a few things.
So how do you make this all work for you? How do you get to what you want faster while feeling less pain about what you need to give or give up?
- Reframe it from “giving something up” to “investing” in something. Do you see how that sounds and feels better already? You are not robbing yourself of anything so you don’t need to feel reluctant or resentful or anxious about going without. See this as a positive that you have these resources to invest and even if you don’t yet, figure out what else you do have that you can invest to get you the resources you need.
- Calculate the “return on investment” and respond accordingly. If the return (or result) is more important to you than what you have to invest (or give up), it’ll make the decision so mush easier and also motivate you so much more. Think of what you’ll gain by investing a little time and money, or what you stand to gain by changing some of your habits. Obviously if the return or result is not worth it and doesn’t outweigh your investment, then think carefully about why you’d want to do it in the first place.
- Know your priorities. Be careful that you’re not investing something that you really should treasure instead. No matter how attractive the outcome or result is, be sure that you’re not losing something more valuable . Really, really have a good think about what’s important to you and what having it is worth to you. Sometimes the cost is just to high – only you will know how to evaluate this. There’s no point in being super successful at something if the stress makes you ill or no point in spending all your time with someone to nurture your relationship while you feel trapped because you don’t have time to do other things that make you happy.
- Find balance. Don’t go to extremes. Sometimes you can invest just enough to get the right result. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be “all-or-nothing” and you can be flexible about your expectations, your investment and your progress. You don’t have to become a workaholic to get good results at work. You don’t have to be available for people 24/7 just to be sure your relationship is good. You don’t have to spend 4 hours a day exercising in order to be fitter and healthier.
- Don’t invest or “do the transaction” at all if the outcome or result makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t fit your values. Sometimes we want things because we think others expect it of us or to get approval from others. Sometimes we think we need things when in fact it’s a compulsive desire or short term want. Be careful how much you invest in this type of outcome, if at all.
Hopefully this gives you a new way of thinking about what you want and what you’re prepared to let go of to get it.