Judge Your Success By What You Had To Give Up To Get It

Judge Your Success By What You Had To Give Up To Get It

In his book “Live Big.  Think Large.  Act Sensibly:  How To Make A Fortune – Without Losing Your Friends!” Nick James begins Chapter One with the above quote.

His point, you see, is this:  Everything does come at a price.

If you want to achieve wealth (or success as you define it), you’re going to have to work for it.  Of course this not something new to you or me; but, do we really accept it, deep in our hearts?  Do we really?

He goes on to reflect that most successful people start from very humble – if not bankrupt – beginnings and only after experiencing a crisis or, as he puts it, experiences an awaking, do they finally find their path to success.

Now…we don’t want to intentionally create a crisis, but we can prod ourselves into an “awakening.”  Because without this awakening, change cannot occur.  And without change, we stagnate, we remain fixed, always just beyond the golden carrot dangling beyond our reach.

So how do we do it – how do set in motion the right path for success?

Unless you’ve been in a cave for the last 75 years, I bet you’ve heard countless claims of “secrets of success,” “follow me and I’ll get you to the promise land,” or “this product or service is all you need to succeed.”

But…as my mentor the late Jim Straw pointed out, all of them are right and all of them are wrong.  It’s not information that we need per se, but it’s the KNOWLEDGE we gain from this information by ACTING on this information.

Back to Nick’s book…

At the end of chapter one, Nick lists 10 critical success elements we can use to set our “awakening” in motion.  Let’s review each one –

  1. Belief
  2. Determination
  3. Courage
  4. Conviction
  5. Humility
  6. A rapacious need for knowledge – and results
  7. The ability to completely “empty your cup”
  8. A plan
  9. A dream
  10. A destination


As I say to myself all the time, “you can’t achieve until you believe.”  Before beginning a new project, say to yourself – do I believe, really believe, I can make this work?


Once you believe you can do it, do you possess the determination, the drive, the will, to see the project right to the bitter end?  If not, forget about it.


Do you have the courage to fail?  To make mistakes?  To try a different route if the first one leads to a dead end?  It is oftentimes at our moment of being most afraid we somehow summon up enough courage to break through on the side of success.


Do you possess the fortitude to stand alone while others all around you tell you “it won’t work,” “you’ll lose your shirt – just like last time,” or “why can’t you play ball with me today?”  Conviction goes hand-in-hand with belief – you won’t have conviction unless you believe.


In my opinion, success comes about by assisting others.  You just can’t do that is you have your nose stuck up in the air, pretending to be better than others.  Additionally, it is important to “suck it up” and admit our mistakes to others and not try to hide them.

A rapacious need for knowledge – and results

We need to get hungry.  Once we’ve identified a project worth doing excitement builds naturally.  We need to feed off of that excitement and dig right into the details to get the job done.  At the same time, however, as business people we must focus on results.  Don’t lose sight of the big picture.

The ability to completely “empty our cup.”

Here’s Nick to explain this point:

“…that in order to grow and expand as people and become successful as entrepreneurs we all have to be able at some point to “empty our cups”.

We have to let go to learn more.  We have to be aware of and in tune with influences from every quarter.  We have to be up to speed with the world and its developments.  We have to feed our minds and constantly feed our imagination.   We have to free our minds of the shackles and constraints of can’t, don’t and won’t and turn them into will, can and do.”

A plan

We need two plans – one for our immediate project(s) we’re working on, and a long-term plan.  Where to you want to be in five years?  Ten years?  How are you going to get there?  If you don’t possess a plan, how will you know when you’ve arrived?

A dream

Dreams inspire us.  They teach us to be creative.  To be daring.  Dreams can be the beginning impetus for positive change.  Have you dreamed big lately?

A destination

Do you know where you’re going?  Why you’re going there?  There must be an end result in our minds, understanding full well that success is really the journey itself.  Nevertheless, knowing in our minds the end point keeps us focused and on track.

I leave you with this quote from Nick:

“In this life, there is no one with nothing left to learn and often it will be people much younger than ourselves who will be showing us the way. They will be our teachers, if we can empty our cups and, with cheerful humility and the best grace possible, accept the lessons they can teach us.”

Be the best!


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