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Do you ever go through life wondering whether you’re ever going to get what you want? With your thirtieth birthday in the rear-view mirror, it suddenly becomes clear that the clock is ticking, and life is shorter than you thought it was. You want to achieve your goals desperately, but you find yourself floundering about, like a bird stuck in oily water.
Getting what you want from life, though, isn’t a brute force activity. You don’t wake up one day, suddenly determined that this is the day everything is going to happen, and you’re going to make a change in your life. That’s not how it works.
Life-changing results begin with small building blocks – little changes you make today that compound over time to generate results for tomorrow. There are all sorts of areas in your life where small changes can make a big difference.
For instance, if you spend many evenings in front of Netflix eating snacks, you can resolve to stop eating after dinner. Think about the positive impact this small change in habits could have on your life. You’re no longer spending money on junk food that’s eating into your budget. You’re not harming your body, you have more energy, and you’re sleeping better because you aren’t eating before you go to bed.
The same applies to money and your career. While taking massive risks is something that some people do to achieve success, it isn’t the path the majority of financially secure people take. Instead, they make commitments early in their lives to be prudent and then watch the fruits of their labor compound over time.
Personal accountability is necessary too. Becoming successful is about surrounding yourself with people who will challenge you if you fall off the bandwagon. Ideally, you want to create a situation where the social costs of reneging on your commitments are high.
Powering through to get what you want, though, isn’t the whole story. While you can keep your motivation levels high for a few months, most people will inevitably struggle to stay on track for the long-haul. Eventually, our desires for pleasure in the here and now overcome the intention to construct a brighter future ten years from now.
Fighting that part of your psychology is the hardest part of getting what you want. Building a dream life is something that takes time – otherwise, it would be something everyone achieved.
Preparing yourself for sacrifice, therefore, is inevitable. You have to get comfortable with it – embrace it even. You have to figure out ways of enjoying less more. It’s tough, but if you can stick it out, the rewards will be yours. Eventually, your efforts will compound, and you’ll launch yourself to the stars.
Success isn’t an all-or-nothing event. It is a runaway phenomenon. Things always start as a trickle. Then slowly, they become a stream and then a torrent. It doesn’t matter whether it is your investment portfolio or your piano-playing skills – small changes in your life lead to massive, outsized outcomes you could never imagine.