If You Want to be Successful, You Have to Pay the Price

By AAwosika07 | Tough love

Mar 04

Let’s just call a spade a spade. Many people in our society are just soft. They don’t like working hard and want everything handed to them. And they have a litany of false excuses.

The idea of there being no upward mobility is insane. 

You have the internet. The great equalizer. The ultimate tool for building a successful life. If you genuinely are so low skilled you can’t use the internet to succeed, honestly, I don’t know what to tell you.

You’re capable of doing quite a bit, but you’re getting in your own way.

Even though you proclaim you want to be successful, deep down, you don’t. Whether you consciously know or not, you want to be where you’re at right now.

Maybe you suffer from “Martyr Syndrome” — a term I coined for people who walk around with a permanent woe is me attitude. Perhaps you derive this perverse pleasure from your own self-pity. And you pat yourself on the back for simply existing and putting up with it all.

Either that, or you’re the type of person who does have the ambition, but you can’t quite put it all together. You can’t bring yourself to take the steps required. You start and stop. Sometimes, you get really excited about a new project and all the motivation is there, but it fades and you find yourself at square one.

We all fall within this range of attitudes. I fall within this range, even the martyr side, in some areas of my life. It’s natural and human to feel this way.

Being ‘soft’ is actually the default state, the correct state because your brain doesn’t want you to experience pain — it’s wired to move toward pleasure and away from pain.

Your brain also wants you to stay alive so you can make babies. Any type of ‘threat,’ perceived or real that goes against the goal will meet a ton of resistance. Hence why it’s so hard to change.

So how do you counteract all of this?

How do you give yourself a fighting chance to succeed?


Pay the Price Up Front

If you want to be successful you have to pay the price. When you make a real decision, it’s often more about what you’re willing to give up as opposed to what you’re willing to do.

Many of the principles to my self-improvement philosophy, principles I borrowed from people much smarter than me, center around the ideas of subtraction, removal, inversion.

Pay the price and define it by the things you’re willing to give up, the things you’re no longer going to do, and the situations or people you plan to avoid. Once you remove that stuff, you’re left with success.

People don’t lack motivation. They’re scared of loss. Mainly, they’re scared to lose the identity they’ve spent so much time creating, whether or not that identity serves them. I’ve been there. As bad as I wanted to change in the past, a part of me wanted to cling to the narrative of ‘the kid with potential.’ I was scared to let that go and find out whether or not I really had said potential.

But at a certain point, I decided I was going to do whatever it takes to be successful. I was going to pay the price.

Still, easy for me to say. I know. I get it.

And I’m not sure I can say the perfect little sentence to spark enough motivation in you to make a decision. But I can tell you where my headspace was when I really decided to pay the price.

When it came down to it, being a loser was no longer an option for me. I hated the idea of being a nobody more than I liked the idea of being a somebody. Looking into the future and seeing that wasted potential motivated me to change my life.

In your case, one of the best ways to learn how to pay the price isn’t to think about all the positives. Look at what you’re missing out on by staying the same. Picture yourself in the future without taking any action.

Sure, you’ll live an okay life. A good life. But you’ll have regrets. A bunch of them. If only I could let you into my inbox and let you read all the messages I get from people who feel like they wasted their lives….maybe that would motivate you.

They sure do motivate me.

There’s not a ton to say other than the fact that you’re in control of whether or not you do this, whether or not you pay the price. And the funny thing? The price isn’t all that much to pay. Just a couple of years of time and some of the following items I’ll mention below.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

You will have to sacrifice time “having fun” so you can spend time doing things that move the needle in life such as general self-improvement, building profitable skills, and navigating the nuances of the project you’re working on.

Many self-improvement gurus love to celebrate the grind. But in reality, sometimes it’s not fun at all. It’s…a grind. And in the short term, spending time “having fun” will be a lot more fun than working on your project.

But you will experience a shift at some point. When things start to work and you see real progress, all of a sudden your life path will genuinely be fun than escapism. 

When you start to win in life, you won’t relate to other people as much. It simply won’t make sense to you that other people would spend so much time doing things that aren’t productive — things that don’t lead to winning.

On top of that, you’ll also be okay with what they’re doing. You don’t care. You know what type of future you’ll have and what type of future they’ll have.

And guess what? If you sacrifice a little bit of time in the grand scheme of things, a few years, to work on a project that matters to you, especially something profitable, you’ll have the time and resources to have as much fun as you want.

I flew to Miami last week on a Tuesday. Why? Because I felt like it.  I sacrificed countless weekends from the age of 25-30. Now I have 30 until the end of my life with free reign and dominion. Easy trade.

Will you make that trade?

Will you pay the price?

It’ll be difficult. But I promise it will be worth it.

Throw Those Warm and Fuzzy Feelings in the Trash Where They Belong

Part of paying the price involves never being in your comfort zone again for the rest of your life.

Take something like being an entrepreneur. Building a business can provide income, flexibility, and freedom, but you’re also one hundred percent responsible for yourself at all times. You develop a healthy level of paranoia, but paranoia nonetheless. You can ‘fall asleep at the wheel’ as an employee, but not as an owner.

As you begin to level up your life in general, you come to the logical conclusion that being in your comfort zone doesn’t make any sense. Comfort equals stagnation equals inevitable downward spirals.

You build a sense of comfortable discomfort, meaning you get used to being on your toes constantly, which makes you more attentive and productive, thus lowering your risks of ever experiencing catastrophic downsides.

Contrast this with someone who doesn’t focus on their own self-improvement doesn’t stay sharp and stays stuck in a seemingly comfortable routine. You don’t have to look that far back, 2008, to see the truly dire results of that type of lifestyle.  Alas, we’ve already forgotten. We fall into the same patterns.

Be different. Stay on your toes in all areas of your life. Let go of the need to be comfortable altogether. Your life will have more flavor to it. Oddly, being afraid is a form of fun in and of itself. Without challenges to overcome, would success feel good?

You’re letting your life go by just because you want to be comfortable:

  • You’re too tired to work out, so you don’t work out, and the cure to being too tired to work out is working out.
  • You trade your long-term happiness for short-term rewards on a daily basis. Those Netflix binges after work feel great. Just kick back and forget your day. With 5 day workweeks, you literally do this 260 fucking times. Think about that.
  • You don’t want to stay up late or wake up early to work on your side project. Throwing your life away to be warm under the covers.

Again, don’t get me wrong, it sucks to give these things up. I’ve been there. I’m not judging you to succumbing to laziness and procrastination because, again, they’re the default state — you should behave this way. Success is abnormal.

Paying the price means you basically no longer get to be a normal person again.

You have to be okay with that.

Let Go of this Counterproductive Need

If there’s a theme for 2020 and beyond, it’s this idea of ‘feelings.’

Everybody wants to feel good, not be offended, not be challenged, and stay in their little intellectual and emotional bubbles. A huge part of becoming successful in life,  a huge piece of paying the price, is letting go of the need to always feel good about yourself, your situation, or your life in general.

Let me ask you this. Why should you feel good about yourself right now?

Is self-love going to keep the bills at bay? What about preventable diseases? Can self-love put your kids through college, help you travel the world, or give you the time and freedom to spend your time as you please with the people you please? Oh, no?

Well then…fuck your feelings, dude.

This colorless odorless entitlement-ridden air of sensitivity is infecting the population.

Maybe you’re experiencing anxiety because…your life isn’t good.

When I was worried about whether or not I could pay my bills, massively overweight, and stuck in situations I didn’t want to be in, yeah, I had anxiety about it. Guess what rid me of that anxiety.


A self-care bath with dove soap?

Nah. Brutal self-reflection, incessant work, and changing the circumstances of my life got rid of my anxiety.

I’ve said this many times. I’m not claiming to have all the right answers. I will say this. Either try things my way or don’t and see how it works out for you.

Don’t want to pay the price to be successful? Fine. Don’t. Want to preserve your feelings and ego in lieu of putting your head down for a while to make something of yourself? Your choice.

You can fall for the feel-good free lunch culture all you want, but here’s the kicker.

Everything Has a Price, Especially Doing Nothing

You don’t think you incur a penalty for subscribing to a doctrine of helplessness?

People who do that get punished the most.

I’ve seen it happen too many times. It hurts to see it. People focus on the way the world should work instead of the way it really works, and then they get blindsided. They thought if they just toed the line everything would work out. Then, decades into their adult life they’re reaching out to me genuinely sad over their situation. And I feel sad for them.

You know what really hurts? The ultimate price you pay?

It’s not an outright tragedy. Horrible situations are almost easier to deal with because they jar you so much you have no choice but to deal with them.

The ultimate price most people pay is the slow degradation of their souls in real-time. That low-level anxiety that transforms into this passive-aggressive cloud of quiet desperation that emanates from an individual like an aura you can’t see, but you can feel. Barbecues with the neighbors in perpetuity. Fuck.

Seeing these people frightens me enough to double and triple down on the price.

If you don’t want to be one of these people, or if you are one of these people right now, pay the price before you run out of energy to do anything about your situation.


About the Author

Ayodeji is the Author of Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement and two other Amazon best-selling titles. When he's not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, eating chicken wings, and occasionally drinking old-fashioned's.