Present someone with a value proposition and this is often the first question that comes out. The question itself indicates that if the price is high, there will be a problem. It infers that we always want things at a discount or without paying full price for the value we will receive.
I heard a concept from author, educator, and wizard Adam Robinson who quoted Rudyard Kipling: “If you did not get what you want, it’s a sign that you did not seriously want it, or you tried to bargain over the price.”
When we are dealing with purchasing a tangible item or service, the question of cost should always be at the forefront. But when we are dealing with achieving our own goals in life or upholding our own values, asking “how much does it cost?” is looking at the situation from the wrong angle.
“It is never efficient or inexpensive to act on our values.”
— Peter Block
The most common rationalization for failing to do what we set out to do — for failing to achieve our predetermined goals — is that what we desire “costs too much,” either in financial investment or in time and effort. At some point, we decide that the cost isn’t worth it. An activity may take too long to complete, or may just be too hard. But the paradox is that it is in times like this that all the value lies hidden.
Great things in life are not supposed to be easy. Instead, by definition, they are supposed to be hard. Whether it’s achieving a big goal in your work, making strides in your personal fitness, or succeeding in the ultra-complicated area of personal relationships, success is supposed to require a certain level of time, effort, and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears.
One of my former colleagues had a mantra for his sales team:
“If it’s easy, we don’t want it.”
I still have a shirt with this quote on the back, and I’m reminded of this concept quite often. Anything of value requires that we pay a commensurate price.
So, how do we come to terms with this reality? How do we stay motivated to achieve our grandest visions when we encounter the inevitable difficulties or don’t feel like pressing on? A few ideas here …
First, decide what is non-negotiable in your life.
These are the values and standards that you absolutely will not compromise under any circumstance — personal values, a certain level of lifestyle that you demand for yourself and your family, activities in your life that absolutely MUST happen. Our goals, plans, and schedules should be built around these non-negotiables.
Second, be judicious in how you invest your TIME.
Time is the most precious resource that we have. It cannot be replaced, refilled, or recaptured in any way. Once a day is gone, it cannot be relived. Take some time today to really consider how you are spending your time. I often have the young people who work with me list out all the activities which they spend at least 3 hours per week doing. Then I get them to consider what is the PURPOSE for every one of those activities. Is that activity adding value in your life in the long-run? Is it leading you in the direction of your dreams? Is it helping you evolve into a better version of yourself? If not, it’s crucial to recognize that NOW, not when you’re 80 years old, looking back on your life, and wondering “What the heck was I doing with my time?!?” Replace low-value activities with those things that will actually make a difference in the quality of your life. Sometimes, this does mean leisure or downtime or solitude. But the largest quantities of our time should be spent in the productive quest to become the best versions of our ourselves that we can possibly become.
Finally, to stay motivated in paying the price for your future visions…
Focus on the benefits more than the price.
Where focus goes, energy flows. Instead of focusing on the effort required to achieve certain goals in your career, focus on the benefits that you and your family will reap when those goals are attained. Instead of focusing on how hard some activity is in the moment, focus on how you will feel after the activity is completed. The more you can put yourself in the moment of having already done something, the more you can feel and realize the true benefits that you will gain, and this will fuel your motivation in the shorter-term.
One of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen is the annual telecast of the Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. This is an event that includes a 2.5 mile swim in the ocean, then a 110-mile bike ride amidst wind and hills, and finally a 26-mile marathon run, often in oppressive heat. The people who participate in this event seem to put themselves through some remarkable pain and suffering. But what’s compelling is the scene at the finish line. The sheer joy of achievement that the athletes experience JUST FOR FINISHING is something I think everyone should behold.
And, in some way, in our own lives, this is something I think everyone should experience … giving your all at something — it doesn’t have to be a Triathlon — for a short period of time, and attaining some level of success, whether it’s winning the race or merely crossing the finish line.
If we could all just understand how we would feel in that moment, most of us would be FAR more willing to expend some energy and effort in the pursuit of great things in our lives.
What are your grandest visions in life?
How will you feel as you achieve these visions, one by one?
What steps can you take today, this week, this month,
to move in the direction of your dreams?
Everything is possible! Just develop your willingness to pay.
“I wish to pay fair price, for what paying it will make of me.”
— Jim Rohn