After attending the graduation ceremony, I was immediately struck by a series of unexpected events.
Long before graduation, I had to spend days waking up every morning, hopping on the Tramway, going to my place of internship and sitting in the same seat facing my computer for nine hours doing something that seemed interesting. Every day I followed the same daily routines and maintained the same lifestyle. My entire schedule was devoted to that.
When I finally received that piece of paper attesting to the fact that I had spent the last five years taking this Einstein course, I immediately remembered the daily hassle of taking that crowded streetcar and showing up on time to sit in front of that small screen with a limited number of moves.
At the moment, this question has been weighing on my mind for a while.
Will I carry on with this same lifestyle?
If you had just graduated or were planning to graduate, you would most likely be confronted with this life choice. Many people don’t pay attention to it because they are either satisfied with their experience or have been promoted before they finish their internship. Yet these are the years of your life that come into play.
Your lifestyle simply consists of your day-to-day existence. How do you think you spend your day-to-day life? How much control would you like to have over your schedule? Where would you like to live? How do you imagine your social life? What would be the balance between your private and professional life?
Although there are many, let’s take a look at three people, each with a different daily routine.
Mark is a serial entrepreneur. He has been living in a beautiful villa in Los Angeles since he launched his new Hydro Alcoholic sanitizer product. His two other companies are also successful with a turnover well above average. Mark alternates between one or two years of intense work where he barely sees his 15 year old daughter followed by a period of intense rest. He has a good network of friends and regularly visits the bar around the corner to reconnect with his close friends. In his free time, he challenges himself with fun and often extreme challenges.
James is an influential person in a local business. He lives in a nice apartment and has moved up the ladder very quickly in a company well known for its difficult access. He is good at what he does and is respected by all. His work is intense, but he manages to organize himself, so it doesn’t drive him crazy. He also has friends and when he has fun, he does it to the fullest.
Jeff is a digital nomad. He lives in his dream home in a comfortable, not too noisy city surrounded by natural beauty. He works virtually for several companies and sets his own work schedules. Three days a week are enough for him to take care of his expenses. He loves adventure and spends much of his time with his family barbecuing outdoors while enjoying the beautiful sights of the beautiful small town.
These three people have all achieved their definition of success, but each lives their own unique lives. Mark’s journey to success has not been the same as James’, just as James has not had the same journey as Jeff. Each of them left on the basis of what they saw as their daily lives in the years that followed.
This choice of daily life is closely related to what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve what you want, hence the second most important question in your life.
How much pain are you willing to endure?
The quality of your life is not defined by the quality of your positive experiences, but by the quality of your negative experiences.
Everybody wants to look good and attractive with that figured out body and those well-developed pecs, but not everyone wants to put up with those daily three hour workouts to build those 10 kilos of muscles.
Everyone wants to be respected, have a fulfilling career and financial independence, but not everyone wants to endure the pain of 90-hour work weeks, unpleasant paperwork, daily sacrifices, lonely times, arbitrary criticism and common failures.
Everyone wants to have a great relationship, but not everyone is willing to go through the difficult conversations, uncomfortable silences and emotional hurts.
Mark had to sacrifice a lot of things in his life before he could achieve the level of success he wanted. He had to go from failure to failure like a hurdler who, with each jump, knocks down the hurdle. He had to give up his fun activities to focus solely on building his business. With the 80 hours a week he spent working on something he didn’t know the results of, his girlfriend abandoned him thinking he had lost his mind. However, Mark believed in what he was doing and had a hunch that it would work. So he continued to fight this battle alone, taking a beating day after day without a single customer for his product. When he woke up, his first concern was not what to eat, but whether his product had been bought and enjoyed. Today, Mark finds himself in a luxury villa in Los Angeles where he hardly spends any time due to his schedule, which has taken him to several countries.
James, just after graduating in engineering, desperately began looking for his first job. So he submitted his resume to a number of different companies, including the one where he had done his internship. Although his work was appreciated, James was not chosen for the position at this company, which he had already found suitable. It’s been a year of hard work for James. He started reading lots of articles on how to create a good resume and cover letter, but had no idea that this job was going to be of no use to him. After a year of desperate searching, he started dropping off his resume at call centers as a customer service representative. It was a painful experience for James who had just spent five years of his life building his engineering career. However, what James hadn’t planned for was that his career had just taken another step forward. In that company, he met people he had bonded with and discovered a talent he didn’t know he had before: persuasion. James then began this journey in this little box, climbing step by step. He ended up as Director of Operations just a year after his arrival. James couldn’t believe what had happened to him. He was getting calls from big companies that he hadn’t asked for beforehand. The process of sending in his resume first was no longer relevant because it had been proven. Today, he is a member of the board of directors of one of the largest sales companies in the United States.
Jeff, unlike James, got a job after graduation. This job was tough for him with a boss who was barely aware of what he was doing. Every day, as soon as he arrived, Jeff was under relentless pressure from his employer. Every night he would come home exhausted and the only dream he had was his bed. The next day, the same thing would happen again until the weekend when he still had unfinished work to do before reporting for work on Monday. This pattern began with Jeff hugging himself as he quit his job without really knowing what to do with his life. He decided to sign up as a freelancer to offer his services. As the days went by, he began to lose hope. Watching his co-workers get a job at the company of his dreams kept crushing him every day. After nine months of unsuccessful offers on hundreds of jobs, he received his new client for a 50-ball job that he did in less than an hour. The client, surprised by the quality of his work and his speed, decided to entrust him with the creation of a brand new and unique platform for $3,000. For Jeff, the adventure has just begun. Contract after contract, client after client, until he achieved financial independence.
Some of you will probably see yourselves in one of these individuals, others will experience a different situation with equally different realities. What they all have in common is that at some point in your life you are going to have experiences that will probably hurt you in your quest for the daily life you want. You could be Mark, James or Jeff, but you will only be able to do so through sacrifices in the form of time, energy, emotions and so on.
If you want to start your own business, live in that dream home, you must be desiring those moments when you are alone in the dark working on something that is potentially going to fail. You have to desire those moments when you’ve just gone to bed when an idea suddenly springs up in your head and you wake up to put it in place without waiting until the next day. If you want a partner or spouse, you’re going to have to love those moments of emotional turmoil and those moments of watching your phone never ringing. If you desire that amazing body shape, you need to relish the pain and stress of the physical workout that accompanies it.
If you desire something, you must also desire the costs.
So it’s not enough to simply desire in order to be able to, rather it’s what you’re willing to appreciate as pain that will allow you to achieve what you want.
If you find yourself wanting and after months and years you’re still at square one, then maybe what you want is just a fantasy, a vision, or a fucking false promise that won’t get you anywhere. Pain is unavoidable to succeed in any field of your life. Rather than trying to avoid it, ask yourself, “How much pain are you willing to endure?”
The answer to this question will determine the success of your life projects, because our struggles determine our successes.