What Pain Do you want to Sustain

We all want to achieve great things in our lives – to leave astounding legacies. The goal can exist clearly in our mind’s eye, the road map can easily be designed, articulated and documented. The pain is in the process of wading our way through the hurdles, negotiating through life’s curves and walking through wilderness moments as we make sacrifices to stretch towards the mark. Our life assignments come at a cost, unfortunately some of us are not willing to pay the price to fulfil our mandate on this earthly realm. It is easier to stay in the places of familiarity and where possible, to take shortcuts.

The cost of shortcuts

I believe that we would all like to shine and be desirable like gold. How much are we willing to go through the process to bring the best out of us? One of the pitfalls we all face as we chase our dreams in the twenty-first century is the temptation to take shortcuts. There are the detours that come in life that tempt you to try to cut corners as you run toward your goals but these shortcuts will only get you off track. These may be moral shortcuts, ethical shortcuts, spiritual shortcuts, financial shortcuts, even relational shortcuts, where you start skimming in your relationships. Shortcuts are always short-sighted. They distract you from getting where you need to go and from what your creator wants you to do in your life. The longest way to success is often a shortcut and there is no shortcut to anywhere worth going

Behind the scenes

It takes dogged tenacity to follow through on a dream or business idea, to stick with things regularly even when it hurts and the going is tough and there are myriads of seductive options for procrastination. Excellence and success often looks like an overnight phenomenon for outsiders when the reality is the result of years of dedication and practice tirelessly undertaken behind the scenes. No great thing was created overnight. There are no magic tricks as much as we would like to go from zero to hero instantly. In order to succeed, you must be prepared to work hard and to have a lot of patience, because the results of all your efforts will not show overnight. There’s no substitute for hard work and behind every success story lies a lot of sacrifice and determination.

Paying the price for success

In his book The Slight Edge author Jeff Olson reveals the real key to success is making small changes and committing to them each day to make a sustainable difference. Granted, we are all capable of success. It depends on our definition. Some will do what it takes to get there as fast as possible. Success has many routes but a shortcut is not one of them. Laws, rules and regulations abound in our lives for good reason. They are meant to keep us safe and ensure fairness. However, success, can have a very strong pull. You may know what the right thing to do is but you do the wrong thing anyway. Pride, ego, fame, glory and money can prove to be a toxic elixir. Ben Johnson and Lance Armstrong took shortcuts to their victories. When they got found out they paid a heavy price. Some people will do anything and say anything to attain success. They play win-at-all costs. But how many games, championships, businesses, careers, reputations, relationships and lives have paid the price? We must always be on our guard to ensure we make the right decisions and take the right route…even if it proves to be long. That is where the integrity is. As a husband or a wife, a great marriage is built on growing a relationship. No quick fix in sight. A marriage is not made on the wedding day but over a lifetime. As a parent, you cannot force your children to be a success. They have to grow into it themselves with your guidance. Success takes time. It takes patience. It takes dedication. It requires accountability.

What do you want?

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room. Everyone would like that — it’s easy to like that. Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence — but not everyone wants to suffer through long work weeks and navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth. Everybody wants to have an awesome relationship — but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. People want an amazing physique without legitimately appreciating the pain and physical stress that comes with the discipline of healthy eating and exercise. People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not. What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe what you want isn’t what you want, you just enjoy wanting. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

Although it is wise to get proper coaching, instruction and mentoring for your goals, these are not considered shortcuts. They are just more efficient ways to learn the skills required for success. However, time with a coach or instructor does not replace the steps one must take in order to be successful. Pay your dues to steadily develop towards success rather than take detours on shortcuts that can actually set you back.

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