there is always a price to pay for success

Helping people isn’t easy…

I’m amazed at how often people ignore good advice. Movies, gadgets, restaurants, relationship advice, or investments…people seem to have a built-in force field that prevents them from listening to good suggestions.

Just the other day as I jumped on the train, I happened to notice the young lady next to me studying English.

As is common here in Japan, she was using a word book so I asked her what she was studying. She replied she was studying for TOEIC which is a business English test.

I wished her good luck and then took a seat.

I started reading my own book when I remembered I had some flyers of my school in my bag.

I quickly jotted down my email in case she might want to contact me directly, then went back up to her and gave her the flyer.

Now, in all the years I have given out my card on the train, less then 10% of people ever bothered to contact me.

It doesn’t make a difference whether we talk about English, success or investing (my three main areas of expertise), 10%.

When I have gotten an email from someone, I am rather taken back.

This was one such time.

I got an email from her later that evening thanking me for the information.

I asked her why she wanted to learn English and she told me that her reasons were two-fold:

  1. Improve her job opportunities
  2. Make friends with people all over the world

She then asked me how she could improve. It was obvious from her writing that she was very much a beginner so I told her that the most realistic option was to find a good teacher.

I told her that word books and grammar study, although it being the de facto choice here in Japan, aren’t effective for most people for one simple reason — they are BORING.

Despite what we may have been taught to believe about studying, I’m here to tell you it can be fun.

A good teacher can make a difficult subject seem easy. A good teacher can make a dry subject interesting. A good teacher will keep challenging you to be better. And a great teacher can do all of that and more.

But as I’m used to hearing, I got an email from her saying…”But a good teacher isn’t cheap.”

I chuckled…because I have learned that in life, for whatever we want, we must be willing to pay the price for success.

The price can only be paid in three ways:

  • Money
  • Effort
  • Time

And you must pay in two ways. Let me explain.

If you spend money (access to quality education) and put in effort then your investment of time can be shortened.

If you spend money and time, you don’t have to invest that much effort.

If you put in a lot of effort and time, you can save money.

Many people try to get away with just paying one…no can do. Simply spending money on expensive courses won’t help if you don’t invest time or effort. Simply working hard for a short period of time without investing in quality training won’t get you very far. And simply investing time but not effort or money will result in slow progress, if any.

As one might expect, the fastest way to success is to pay with all three. Quality education, hard work and a lot of time invested in any task will pretty much guarantee your success.

Unfortunately, as we have other responsibilities and things to attend to, most of us can’t pay all three. It’s just too high a cost.

So what’s the best option?

The answer really depends on where you find yourself at this very moment.

You could be one of those unfortunate people who was downsized so you might be concerned about money; effort and time might be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, you might be a student and your parents are footing the bill. In this case, you might not be willing to work that hard. Thankfully, time is on your side.

Only you know which is the best option for you but if you’ll allow me, I’ll share mine with you.

Of these three though, only time is irreplaceable.

You can always make more money and you can control how much effort you put in, but time is what it is.

Therefore, to me, by choosing to pay success with money and effort will get you to where you want to go the fastest giving you plenty of time to enjoy it.

Don’t be cheap when it comes to success; in both money and effort.

Seek advice from the best out there…then go to work on the ideas you discover.

Success may come with a steep price tag, but it’s all worth it.

I only hope the lady on the train figures that out.

Adrian Shepherd

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