Going Or Growing Through Life – Part Three

We are looking at some of the trade-offs needed to keep growing in life and avoid simply going through life.

A> Trade-offs force us to make difficult personal changes                                                                                                  B> The loss of a trade-off is usually felt long before the gain                                                                                                C> Most trade-offs can be made at any time                                                                                                                            D> A few trade-offs come only once

E> The higher you climb, the tougher the trade-offs

If you are like most people, when you are starting out in life you have little to give up. Trade-offs at this point are easy to make. But as you climb and accumulate some of the good things in life, the trade-offs demand a higher price. Someone once said, “Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.” When you have something to lose trade-offs become a little more difficult. 

When we are at the bottom, we make trade-offs because of desperation. We are highly motivated to change. As we “climb in life,” we change because of inspiration. At this higher level we don’t “have to” any more. We get comfortable. As a result, we don’t make the trade-offs.

One of the dangers of “success” in life is that it can make a person unteachable. Many people are tempted to use their success (read: comfort, security, safety) as permission to discontinue their growth. They become convinced that they know enough to succeed and they begin to coast. They trade innovation and personal growth for a formula, which they follow time after time. They are literally in a rut. However, we need to remember that the skills and knowledge that got you here are probably not the skills that will get you there. This is especially true today when everything is changing quickly. No matter how good things seem to be you can never ‘stand pat.’ If you want to keep growing and learning, you need to keep making trades. And they will cost you.

In the end, when we make trades we are trading one part of ourselves for another part. Author and thinker Henry David Thoreau said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” You give part of your life to receive something back. That may not be easy, but it’s essential.

F> Trade-offs never leave us the same

Business book author Louis Boone asserted, “Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” We all have the power of choice, but every time we make a choice, our choice has power over us. It changes us. Even the bad choices can ultimately help us to change for good, because they clarify our thinking and show us ourselves.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book called “The Great Divorce.” It’s been said that he chose that title because faith requires a choice. If we truly examine it, we must decide which side of the line we want to live on, and that choice causes us to divorce ourselves from things we once held onto. So either way we choose, we aren’t the same after we make the choice. 

G> Some trade-offs are never worth the price

I am all for making trade-offs. I have come to see them and accept them as a way of life. But not everything in my life is on the trading block. I’m not willing to trade my marriage for my career. I’m not willing to trade my relationships for fame or fortune. And I am not willing to trade away my values for anything or anyone. These kind of trade-offs only lead to regret. And they are difficult to recover from.

Trade-offs are always necessary if we are growing through life and not just going through life. Next time, ‘trade-offs worth making.’