The unapologetic, raw, unedited interpretation of living life. Each of us is the artist of our own life, constantly remolding, reworking, and roughing out the details and applying what we've learned to the changing canvas. There are no do-overs, no take backs...just rough cuts that release what lies inside us.

I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Cost of Living

There is a common theme running in life right now, everything has a cost.  This does not refer to the purchasing of goods or services, it goes much deeper than that.  The cost this refers to is the emotional, mental, and physical cost associated with decisions which face us every day.  Commitment equals a certain degree of intensity and focus.  When we are hyper-focused on our goals, there are absolutely areas that do not get attention, we become more choosy about where, with who, and when we direct our time and energy. 

I imagine the last sentence will receive the highest probability for misinterpretation, but at this moment for the sake of the illustration, it doesn't really matter, because you and I know it is true:  Decision takes Boldness, Effort takes energy, goals take focus, and success takes work.  It always costs us something and time is of the essence!

Do you think DaVinci had time to chat it up with every person who walked by?  Do you read stories about the applaudable social skills and raving fans of Vincent VanGogh during his lifetime?  I am sure you can insert any driven, successful person's name here and draw a definitive line from who they were to what they achieved.  What you won't find here is a successful name and a laundry list of how they interacted with every piece of hate mail, invested in every penny stock, chased every rabbit trail to get them to their moment of glory.

Could you imagine if your favorite professional football player decided to take up tennis on the side?  You would say they were crazy, that they were wasting their time.  Here is where this applies to the average-striving-for-above-average people like you and I:

Get Focused:  You first have to decide what success looks like for YOU.
Maybe for you, this is buying your first home, running a marathon, being debt free, deciding you want to follow your dream of starting a self-owned business.  This step cannot be completed by anyone but YOU.  No one is going to be able to tell you what your dream is.  You may hear the word "supposed to" or "should", but only you know your heart.  Once you OWN your dream, it will be easier to know how to be successful at it.

Get Intense:  Plan your Work. Work your plan.
My husband and I set out to be debt free by 2012.  This was not going to happen just because we wanted it to; it needed a plan, a specific plan.  We needed resources, support, and each other to get prepared to throw everything else aside and push hard to our goal.  This is the step where "cost" (both symbolically and literally) hit home.  This is NOT the EASY button! Your dream is not an overnight win.  We some emotional hurdles to overcome, a hoard of "No's" lined up to greet anything that would tempt us from moving forward.  The "No's" got bigger and bolder as time passed, some were emotional and we shed some tears together.  Our goal is in our sights now and we are moving forward with gusto!  You need this intensity in your life to make it.  There is going to be not one, but MANY distractions along the way. 

Be Accountable:  Invite a friend to go with you.
Loneliness invites a menagerie of garbage to find you. It takes an extraordinary amount of focus and dedication to perform some of the feats you will face in your pursuit.  Having a partner, a sounding board, a friend, or someone to keep you focused makes all the difference.  I was doing a phenomenal job of running and training for my half marathon goal when I knew my dog needed to get some exercise.  When those circumstances changed, I allowed other things to distract me from my training.  Some choices you are going to make are not going to be the most popular; having someone in your life corner serves as a reminder it will be worth the cost.  For some, this may be a full reliance on God and faith, so hang on to Him!

There is not a single decision you can make in this life that comes free to you...indecision is also a choice. Everything will cost - what do you have to lose? Everything, including the life you want to live!
What cost are you willing to make? What distractions do you need to turn away so you can focus on moving forward?

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