There’s a well known saying “You can do anything, but not everything”. I think it’s basically true, allowing for all the usual provisos about physical capacity, age, etc. Though these can sometimes prove less of an obstacle than expected.
Recently on this website I’ve tended to concentrate on the second half of this. I’ve spend a lot of time persuading people (including myself) that a huge list of everything is counter-productive. It’s a lesson that has to be rammed home over and over again - that trying to do everything is the best way to stop yourself from doing anything.
The no-list method is part of this effort to avoid the evils of over-commitment.
But what I have not emphasized much recently is the first part: “You can do anything.”
Well, ok, I’m never going to make myself into an opera singer or a rock start and to be honest I probably never had the talent for either. But then I never really wanted to be an opera singer or a rock star enough to become one.
How do I know I never wanted to be either?
Because I was unwilling to pay the price.
So let’s amend the statement to “You can do anything, provided you are prepared to pay the price.”
Part of the price is of course the things you won’t be able to do if you really do go for your goal.
I often used to say to my coaching clients, “At the end of each day what you haven’t done is the price you paid for what you have done. Was it worth it?”
If you’ve spent your day lying on the couch in front of the tv drinking six-packs of beer, that is your choice and it’s absolutely fine. But it doesn’t come without a price. The price is your health, your income, the respect of your friends and family, and the self-respect that comes from achieving worthwhile goals.
If you’ve spent your day in the office ticking trivial busywork tasks off your huge to do list, that doesn’t come without a price either. The price is that a project is stagnating for lack of attention, your work has become flabby, you miss out on promotion, etc.
Tomorrow: Part II - What happens when you pay the price?