Without missing a beat, I replied with this:
I’d rather love what I do than love what I drive.
As much as I loved my Denali [pictured above], it was just a truck. It didn’t (and couldn’t) provide any long term satisfaction for me. In a few short years, it would be “old” and would begin to be a financial drain on us.
There’s nothing wrong with nice cars. I like nice cars. Lisa and I had made a choice though – we wanted to scale back our lifestyle so that I could pursue full time entrepreneurship and self-employment. The truck was the last hold out in the string of things being sold off.
It was also that last piece of debt that we had and, to tell you the truth, it felt great. The payment on that thing was oppressive. We had already sold our house, paid off our credit cards, sold my motorcycle, paid off our other car (which we still have), cut up our credit cards, and moved into a two-bedroom apartment which we lived in for a year.
You Have the Same Choice
One of the more frustrating phrases I hear from people is this: “I can’t afford to start my own business. I’ve got a family to provide for. You don’t have kids yet. When you do, you’ll understand.” Meanwhile, they’ve got two car payments, a mortgage, and balances on their credit cards.
No. Truly I won’t understand.
The problem isn’t their family or the presence of kids. No, it’s their unwillingness to sacrifice.
We don’t like to sacrifice. We want it all. We deserve it all. At least that’s what we believe. So when push comes to shove, we spend rather than save.
I often ask people who “can’t afford to start their own business” why they don’t scale back their lifestyle. The typical response is, “My wife/husband wouldn’t allow it.” The second is “We’ve got two kids, so we need this house and big, oversized SUV with the DVD system in the back and nav system in the front.”
Whatever. It’s all excuses. They want it all right now and so they’ll rent a lifestyle and then complain about being dissatisfied in their jobs. Meanwhile, they have the power to change their circumstances but they don’t have the courage.
It takes courage.
You have a choice too. It’s the start of 2011 and you’ve got resolutions (or, if you’re a reader of this blog, you have a vision for your life and you’ve got goals). But, in order to reach your goals, you’re going to have to sacrifice. There is never any success without sacrifice. Ever.
- If you want to lose weight, you’ll have to sacrifice the sweets. You’ll also have to sacrifice some sleep in order to wake up early and exercise.
- If you want to quit smoking, you’ll have to sacrifice the emotional feelings smoking gives you. You may even have to sacrifice some friendships.
- If you want to get out of debt, you’ll have to sacrifice “stuff” and cut up your credit cards.
- If you want to start a business, you’ll have to sacrifice things like sleep, time with your family, and maybe even your home.
But it’s worth it because those things have lasting value. The stuff doesn’t. The newness wares off, the shine fades, and that emotional high is replaced by the longing for something “newer and better.”
We often make resolutions (or goals for that matter) without regard to what we’re going to have to sacrifice to achieve them. A smoker doesn’t think about the friendships they may have to set aside for a period of time. An entrepreneur doesn’t think about the loss of time with family or the late nights. A person who resolves to “be better with my finances” doesn’t think about how many times they are going to have to say “no” to intense temptations from friends to go to a movie or grab dinner.We don’t think about it until it’s too late – until we’re confronted with the choice to make a sacrifice. That’s when we fully understand the weight of our resolutions and, in the heat and emotionalism of the moment, we choose immediate gratification rather than long-term benefit. That’s why most people don’t accomplish their goals or successfully complete their resolutions. They weren’t prepared to sacrifice.
In order to truly be successful with a resolution or goal, you have to decide at the outset what you’re going to sacrifice. It’s surprisingly simple to make flippant resolutions such as “I want to lose weight” or “I want to quit smoking.” I probably “quit” smoking 15 times before I actually quit. It wasn’t until I decided what I was going to sacrifice (exposure to friends who were avid smokers) that I was finally able to quit.
Lisa and I have sacrificed a lot of “stuff” that most people work their entire lives to get so that I could start my own company. But I will tell you that we’re happier and more fulfilled as a result.
So, now that you’ve got your goals or resolutions, tell me, what are you going to sacrifice to accomplish them? Decide now. Because if you don’t, in the heat of the moment, when you’re emotionally drained, chances are good that you won’t make the right decision.
Photo courtesy of Victor Bezrukov