What Are You Prepared to Give Up to Get the Life You Want?

I read something the other day that made me sit up and take note.

The premise of the piece was that most of us want our lives to be a particular way. We want the great job, loving relationship, big house, interesting and exciting lifestyle and, of course, the work-life balance - we want these things to make us happy.

When asked what we want to get out of life, we revert to, "I want to be happy and have a fantastic job and live a fabulous lifestyle", but it doesn't really mean anything. Because they're just words unless we're prepared to make a huge effort to get there.

When we break it down to, "how are you going to be happy?" and, "how are you going to have a fantastic job and live a fabulous lifestyle?", then it usually means that something has to give to get us to that place. These things aren't handed to us on a plate, which means we have to work hard to get them.

No matter how many times you say something, it doesn't make it come true. But action does. (feel free to tweet that.)

Photo credit: Bruce Timothy Mans (Flickr Creative Commons)

So we want these things that will supposedly make us happy but we're often not prepared to go to the effort necessary to achieve them.

For example, we want the great work set-up where we're earning fantastic money and working the way we want to in order to get it - probably working for ourselves in an entrepreneurial spirit.

The problem is we're not prepared to work the long hours and weekends to get our own business started, we're not committed to embracing uncertainty and risk, the struggles, rejection and cash-flow hold-ups - all the things we need to do so that one day we'll be financially independent, able to work where we like, do what we want to do and not answer to anyone but ourselves.

We want the healthy and active body where we run for miles upon miles, slip into the latest fashion gear and feel at one with ourselves, confident that our bodies are looking and feeling their best.

The problem is we can't be bothered to do the work to get there. We'll sit in front of the TV or put off exercise until another day, crack open another beer or bottle of wine rather than spend hours every week training in a room with other sweaty bodies. Because that's what it takes to get into that kind of shape.

We want the interesting and exciting lifestyle where we spend more time with family and do all sorts of unusual things - new hobbies, exploring corners of the world, trying activities and adventure we'd always wanted to do but only ever dreamed of.

The problem is this kind of life can be scary and full of unknowns. There are no guarantees and we could be out there on our own, away from trusted support and established friendship. We're fearful of change and would rather watch what others do because to do what they do will mean changing our home and that's something we couldn't ever really do.

Reading the article last week, I realised the most interesting part was not what we want and why we want it, but the problems we have to overcome - the pain we're prepared to go through - to get there.

We all want something. We dream and fantasise. We encourage notions of a better life in which we'll be happier and more content. But do we want it badly enough and just how much are we prepared to give up to get it?

The author asked whether we really want these things or whether they are only fantasies. We talk a lot but action speaks louder than words. Without action, it becomes clear we probably don't want these things at all unless we're willing to suffer something in the process.

Some of us cope better at giving things up. There are those of us who realise we'll go through pain to get to where we want to and that's okay... most of the time.

Whether it be flogging ourselves on a beach at 6am knowing we'd rather sleep in but we'd instantly regret it. Or trying umpteen careers, never feeling comfortable with any, realising our own business is the only option but that it may very well not work. Or leaving home years ago not knowing when or if we'd return, saying goodbye to those we love when we'll soon be out there alone, but then we'd rather die trying than admit to never having tried at all.

These are a few of the things I've been prepared to give up, the pain I've accepted I have to go through to get to where I want to.

What are yours? What have you been prepared to give up to get the life you want?


vegemitevix said... Add Reply

Oh yes this is one thing I an honestly say I have done. I have given up the big salary, and the security of the big job to go out on my own. I've changed countries and husbands and lifestyles, to try and create the one that fits. All through it all I've le learnt that it's usually just before you reach 'there' wherever that is, that it's the darkest. All we need to do is not make a start on our vision, starting is the easy bit. We need to keep going, until we're there.

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

You have certainly given a few things up and taken some pain to get to where you want, Vix, and good on you! Have to agree about the fact that just before we reach that point, it's often the 'darkest' - as I've found with launching this new business. You almost have to accept it's coming and embrace it, knowing it won't last. By the way, should we be doing business together? ;)

Chris Wright said... Add Reply

Cool pòst! Russell it almost sounds like you´re working a double life as a "Life Coach". The questions you pose could be from the coaching manual GROW by John Whitmore: Goals, Reality, Options and Willpower (the part you post focus on).

Chris Wright said... Add Reply

Cool post! Russell it almost sounds like you´re working a double life as
a "Life Coach". The questions you pose could be from the coaching
manual GROW by John Whitmore: Goals, Reality, Options and Willpower (the
part your post focuses on).

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

Thanks Chris! Haha, yes, maybe in another life?! I come across a lot of these articles through my researching and writing - I find many of them ring true so I do enjoy sharing, combined with my own experiences. Hope it's of 'some' value to you! Thanks for sharing the book - will have a look for it now. Sounds right up my street! :)

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

Like an echo in the room ;) (just responded below!)

accidentally seasoned hobo said... Add Reply

Beautiful piece. I can't say what I have given up, because I started out when I was very young. I never thought I won't return. One country stop, became several and in the process I lost my own goals. Technology made it easy to keep in touch with those I love, but what I miss is accidentally running into someone I went to school with. Very mundane stuff!! The saddest thing happens when you give up much and still do not achieve your goals, and in the process are too tired to try again!! on a bright note, even then you can say, it was heck of a journey!!

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

So maybe you gave up friends and familiar faces as a result of your many moves? I didn't ever consider that I might never return and I still say "never say never" to this day. I agree that you can always say it one heck of a journey regardless of whether you achieve specific goals or not. And the stories you now have to tell others!

accidentally seasoned hobo said... Add Reply

Yeah stories are the best Russell. Here is one for. Two days ago I attended a meeting of a film club in Sweden. The woman who sat next to me told me that she was making a movie about another man who shared the table with us. He laughed. When I asked, ‘so what about?’ Oh, well, I am renovating a train station. Then he mumbled, well, I sort of bought this train station? My wide eyes encouraged him to go on...and for the next 30 minutes he shared with me his idea of community. And how these old train stations that are not used any more, were symbols of community, that carried their stories for generations. And above all were made of timber, the biodegradable material found in their neighborhood...why would we want to tear that down, he asked.!! He is a graphic designer and is going to use his skills to bring it to life...definitely worth documenting in a documentary, or even a feature!!

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

That's a great story. It's not like you wouldn't meet people like that in your home country but these encounters seem to happen more often when you're abroad - maybe you pay more attention to people around you? Lovely idea though and an excellent cause to follow. Maybe an opportunity for you to blog about his progress?! ;)

accidentally seasoned hobo said... Add Reply

That is a great idea. I was thinking of doing a short youtube documentary on that. I make short films ...often without much narrative since I do not have the time to sit down to make a story or edit them...but here an example...since it is one of the first videos --there are many stills...to establish the location....

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

And YouTube films and short pieces are continuing to grow in popularity so not a bad idea at all.

Tabithas Glutenfreedishes said... Add Reply

well said. I wouldn't agree it has to be painful. Yes we can learn from some of our hardest situations, experiences and it can be scary to make change but often I think it's about how we frame things, our perceptions ,even in the worst of situations and circumstances. Big fan of GROW too.

Victor@ Wildlife Tours Melbour said... Add Reply

Great article and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

Thanks Victor. Appreciate your comment.

Russell V J Ward said... Add Reply

Me too. Thanks for reminding me about that! Great insights too and I agree that it's often how we look at things. I'm a big fan of positive thinking, whatever the situation. It can literally turn a situation on its head. Thanks for your comment ;)

laura anne said... Add Reply

wow, this is a really inspirational post, just the thing I needed to read today!


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