Paying That Price For Success
By Melvin J. Howard
The first rule of paying the price is a very important rule, and, indeed, possibly covers most of the subject matter. Before you make any formal resolutions whatsoever, make certain that you genuinely desire to carry it out. Let there be no doubt that the end you have in view is so desirable or advantageous that it will outweigh all desires and advantages or all other ends that are likely to have to be foregone or abandoned in order to attain it. In short, be sure you are willing to pay the price. This rule is the corner-stone this is of great importance. There is a price for everything for doing and not doing. Paying the price is characteristic and a passionate desire to succeed, a desire so strong and overbearing that it amounts to a demand, and that, in the strictly economic sense to which I means willingness to pay the price.
The price is first of all singleness of purpose and concentration of effort. Nearly all of us, at school, have thought that we should someday like to be President of the United States. But not all of us have made it a point to study the lives of past presidents to see how they did it. Not all of us have taken a law course with that special insight like constitutional law. Not all of us have refused tempting commercial opportunities for certain poverty and struggle for a time to gain an end in which the mathematical chances were ridiculously and overwhelmingly against us. Not all of us have kept desperately fanning the embers of dissatisfaction, fanning them into a constant white-hot flame. With most of us the early fire dies; the embers fade and grow cool. We reach as high a level as we ever seriously hope to reach. We have spasms of dissatisfaction with our position in the world, but not sufficient dissatisfaction to make us work our way out of the rut to a higher position. We have moments of longing for the mountain tops, but not enough longing to make us willing to give up something for them. Strolling in the valleys is so much more pleasant than climbing.
And singleness of purpose demands more sacrifices than mere industry. It involves giving up all pleasures that interfere with it. They may be quite innocent pleasures, their sole offense being that they occupy time. It involves making oneself narrow; one cannot be a success in any one line if one dissipates one’s energies in a number of activities—unless, of course, one be a versatile genius whose energies overflow, like Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, or Goethe—and such instances are so rare that they may be ignored. Let there be no mistake. I do not mean to discourage efforts to become a Success. I mean merely to indicate that the goal has a price. I want you merely to ask yourself whether you are willing to pay that price; to ask yourself candidly how far you want to go and how much you are willing to pay; for if you do not ask yourself now, before you make your Success resolutions, you are likely to ask yourself later on.
As you see obstacles and disappointments pile up, you are apt to begin wondering whether the game is worth the pain. And if you decide to give up then, you will have broken your early resolution, with all the undermining of self-confidence and faith in your will which that involves.
Once you have made your decision, having coldly decided that is what you want and that you are willing to pay the price, your decision is forever beyond dispute. You should never ask yourself again whether the other course is possible; whether it is really worth while staying home to study for a specified number of evenings each week; whether a man who has resolved to stop drinking can really do so suddenly without blowing to pieces; whether a man in a moderate position, without so many responsibilities and burdens on his shoulders, doesn’t really get just as much enjoyment out of life as the Success. Can I do it a person that comes from Hoboken anywhere can actually accomplish what he sets out to do. Those questions are forever closed; you have asked them before and have decided them. You will know that thoughts determine action, and to control your actions you will begin by controlling your thoughts. You will vivify all the advantages that will come from carrying out your resolution. You will paint them in glowing colors.
You will dwell on them constantly. The disadvantages you will ignore. They are disadvantages only to fools; a wise man does not think them so. Concentrate on the positive side; avoid the negative at all costs friends, family anyone that would dampen your spirit. Picture yourself already a success. I have come across many people in my life that want the easy life the glamorous life the rich life. But they are never willing to pay the price. Each successful person knows what I am talking about they have paid the price. What looks to the outside world of easy success is an illusion the price these individuals paid could be number of things that we will never know about.