Hello, my friends.
This week, we continue our six-part Productivity series. These are lessons from our archives that are tied to the subject of productivity. In this lesson, we talk about four trade-offs you must make in order to lead a life of significance. Easy? No. Rewarding? You’d better believe it! Comment below the blog because, at the end of the series, I’m going to choose one winner from the commenters who will receive my Top 10 Productivity Tips mini-course absolutely free (a $47 value).
This lesson from the front lines of success, significance, and productivity is called “The Most Important Trades of Your Life.”
Every single day, you are making trades – trade-offs. I am not talking about baseball trades or any kind of sport, where you are trading one player for another. I’m not talking about stock market trades, where you are buying and selling financial instruments. I am talking about trades you make each and every day in your life that are either leading you to the best possible version of yourself, or they are not.
I am going to share with you some of the trades. Ideally, you will relate to them, reflect on them, and be very intentional about the trades you make in life.
Good for Great
Success is not free. You have heard many times, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
What does that mean?
It is not about lunch. It is about paying the price to get to where you want to be. And when you pay the price, it means you are giving up something. You are sacrificing one thing in order to achieve or obtain something else. Obviously, you want the thing you sacrifice to be less important to you, less valuable to you, than the thing that you gain.
Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, talks about sacrificing the good in order to achieve the great. As logical as that sounds, many people have it good; but they will not give that up for fear they will trade in good and achieve something less than good. The dirty little secret is that, in order to achieve greatness, you must give up the good.
Comfort for Challenge
People must trade feeling comfortable and complacent in order to feel challenged, energized, and yes, maybe just a little bit scared.
You must trade in comfort and boredom for excitement and enthusiasm. If you are bored, it is an indicator that there is more to life than whatever it is you are doing. It may be time to make a trade.
Life was not meant to be bored. (Click to tweet.)
Most people will go watch other people live their lives, but few will get in the game.
Trade in where you are now in life in any or all of the areas. Trade the different elements of who you are and what you are to others, for where you want to be and who it is you want to become. Trade for the things you want to do, have, and be.
You have to make trades. These can be difficult, but focus on what you stand to gain from the sacrifices you are making.
Self for Others
Every day, you get to decide if you will serve yourself or serve others. The best approach: stop serving yourself.
It is okay, and even advisable, to take care of yourself, of course. I am not saying, “Don’t take care of yourself.” But don’t put serving yourself in front of serving your family or the people you care about.
If you are an employer, serve your employees. If you are an employee of a company, serve the organization and your customers. This includes external customers (the people who buy your company’s products or services) and internal customers (the people who rely on you for your work and who work with you).
Status Quo for Significant Life
Remember, there really are no pure solutions. There are just choices. Each choice you make has its pros and cons, its benefits and costs. It is the relative evaluation of those benefits and costs, and pros and cons, which lead us to make choices. It is far better to make a choice and move forward than to be paralyzed by not making a choice.
The fact is, doing nothing is also a choice. Staying status quo means that one year, five years, or ten years from now, you will be exactly where you are now, just that many years older. Is that really what you want?
What trades are you making on a daily basis that have long-term ramifications? Are you consistently trading up to the best version of you?