An uncomfortable but powerful truth that took most of my 20s to internalize: There's an opportunity cost to everything worthwhile in life. No matter what you're trying to accomplish, you'll have to give up something in order to make it happen.
- If you want to become a doctor, you give up most of your early 20s and about 10 years of your life for school and training. One of my best friends from college is a neurosurgery resident. By the time his training is done he'll be almost 40.
- If you want to become an entrepreneur, you're going to give up a list of things a mile long. Time and the addictive feeling of certainty and security that come with a steady paycheck are just the tip of the iceberg.
- When we see the careers of professional athletes, what the media shows us is glitz and glamor, ESPN highlight reels, shoe commercials and more. What they don't show you is the quarterback who practices getting the shit beat out of him by a defense, or the basketball player shooting 100 free throws each day. Decades of training and deliberate practice are the reality of becoming a professional athlete. Years of their lives are given up in pursuit of a dream.
When I asked people on Facebook what they had given up to get something else they wanted, I got about 60 answers.
- Some people gave up the ability to take risks and have financial freedom because they had to provide for their kids
- To travel the world, some gave up familiarity, friends, family, and a sense of belonging and community
- Some gave up food they loved in hopes of seeing abs he'd never seen before
Even if you get what you want more than anything in the world, you will have to give something up. If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.