“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”
— James Allen
Successful people know that in order to accomplish their goals, they will have to say NO to certain tasks, activities, and demands from their friends, family, and colleagues.
In the short-term, you might sacrifice a bit of instant gratification, but when your goals come to fruition, it will all be worth it.
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
— Marianne Williamson
If you never try and take great opportunities or allow your dreams to become realities, you will never unleash your true potential and the world will never benefit from what you could have achieved. So voice your ideas, don’t be afraid to fail, and certainly don’t be afraid to succeed.
Be yourself. Don’t waste time and energy trying to be and do what you think others want you to do and be. And most of the time, your actions trying to be what you think others want won’t make you happy. They won’t make others like you any better. Instead of trying to please others, just be you. Be honest about who you are and what you want. Maybe some of your old friends won’t like who you will become. That’s okay. You’ll make plenty of new friends who do like who you are.
The meaning of life is the meaning you decide to give it. Some people are searchers. They wander through life looking for answers…but rarely find them. Others accept without question what an outside authority tells them is true. The meaning of life comes from within, from the things that you learn to prioritize and value. Nobody is going to tell you what life should mean to you; you have to decide that for yourself.
You’ll be happier if you focus on efforts and attention only on the things you can control. Each of us has a large number of things about which we’re concerned: our health, our family, our friends, our jobs; world affairs, the plight of the poor, the threat of terrorism, the current political climate. Within that Circle of Concern, there’s a smaller subset of things over which we have actual, direct control: how much we exercise, what time we go to bed, whether we leave for work on time; what we eat, where we live, with whom we socialize. You’ll be happier and more productive if you dedicate yourself to your Circle of Control and ignore your Circle of Concern.
You have the freedom to choose how you respond to any event. In the classic Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Fankl writes, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” He based this philosophy on his personal experience in a Nazi concentration camp. When that jerk cuts you off on the freeway, you get to choose if you’ll get angry or give him the benefit of the doubt. When you get stuck behind the old lady in line at the grocery store, it’s up to you how to respond. When those stupid kids next door vandalize your lawn, you get to choose how you feel about it.
Staying in a relationship out of a sense of obligation or pity is not a good reason. Sometimes you really do have to walk away — from a friendship, from a family member, even from a romantic partner. Yours isn’t the only story in this world; sometimes it’s better to be somebody else’s villain than to make yourself miserable.
When good things happen to people you know, help them celebrate. Their success does not diminish you. Be happy when your friends and family achieve something cool. If a co-worker gets a raise, be supportive and not jealous. Approach life as if it were a win-win game. Because it is.
Give without the expectation of return. Help other people — even if it costs a bit of money or time. Don’t always expect a financial payoff. Don’t get offended if your effort isn’t acknowledged or appreciated. Help because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want to be noticed.
You’re more likely to regret the things you don’t do than the things you do. That’s not to say you should be an inconsiderate jerk, or that you won’t regret making big mistakes. But generally speaking, you’re more likely to be sorry that you didn’t introduce yourself to the barista at the coffeehouse, didn’t go bungee-jumping with your friends, didn’t stay in touch with your friends.