I Gave Up Many, Gained Even More
Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life. However, with every opportunity that you take, another opportunity must be sacrificed. This is a fundamental concept called ‘opportunity cost’ in economics — once you spend your money on something, you can’t spend it again on something else.
This concept made me realise that opportunity cost also applies in our day to day life. Everything that’s worth accomplishing for you, you’ll have to give up on something in order to make it happen.
“The 3 C’s of life: Choices, chances and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”
Looking back, I remembered the things I gave up in order to gain more in life.
1. I Gave Up My Pride
Loads of pride can mean a healthy dose of self-esteem, but too much of it can lead to an excessive feeling of superiority.
This one time, when I was in the office, a colleague finished explaining to me how this new printer works. He asked if I had any questions, and I said no because I didn’t want to look stupid. I was too proud to ask for help and I wanted to prove that I could it all by myself to look all high and mighty.
“Pride will always be the longest distance between two people.”
There’s a reason why pride has been considered as one of the seven deadly sins. I realised that my build-up overconfidence and arrogance pushed people away. Instead of relating others as equals, I displayed myself as superior and made others feel small.
I gave up on my old self and became more genuinely stable, based upon validating, affirming and valuing myself as I am and others for who they are. Now, I acknowledge human’s vulnerability and I’m comfortable to say, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I was wrong.”
Me giving up on pride enabled me to connect more with people and form new and improved relationships.
2. I Gave Up Pleasing Others
It’s important to keep other’s feelings in mind, but I forget that I’m also a priority.
The word “no” was not in my vocabulary. Even when I was tired, or I had to study, or I wanted to have a weekend off, I kept saying “yes” to everyone. I found myself overwhelmed, overbooked and overworked. I was afraid of conflict by saying “no” and I didn’t want to disappoint someone.
Why? I had different reasons: wanted to help, wanted respect from others, wanted to be liked, avoided confrontation and didn’t want to deal with guilt. I couldn’t be any more wrong. I realised it’s not about saying “no” all the time, but I shouldn’t do things that aren’t worth it.
“It’s only by saying ‘no’ that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs
Me giving up on pleasing others enabled me to value myself more. This allowed me to value my time and say “yes” to other things that are more interesting to me. I’m now able to show the people I value my work, time and priority, and gain their respect at the same time.
3. I Gave Up Multi-Tasking
My work routine used to be hectic and most of the time, I did two to three things at the same time. I thought I was managing marketing, finance and operations all well at once, but I lacked focus in every field. My attention was divided and not geared towards one specific task. My brain had too many tabs open and it was slowly draining my energy.
“Multi-tasking is the ability to screw everything up simultaneously.” – Jeremy Clarkson
Me giving up on multi-tasking enabled me to focus on specific tasks. I have gotten more done than ever before because I focused mindfully on completing tasks in a sequential manner through planning and prioritising.
4. I Gave Up Control
I used to be a control freak. I often put a tremendous effort into planning, predicting and preventing things I couldn’t possibly plan, predict or prevent. It gave me a sense of safety by trying to control things of what I think will happen if I didn’t. In other words, I controlled out of fear. I was micromanaging the universe and that made me insecure and crazy.
“The more you try to control something, the more it controls you. Free yourself, and let things take their own natural course.”
I’ve noticed that things go smoothly when I give up control. I started to allow things to happen instead of making them happen. Instead of focussing on results, I started to value the process. I trusted that things will be alright no matter the circumstances
Me giving up on control enabled me to surrender. What do I mean by surrender? It means to stop fighting myself and the natural flow of life. It’s the STOP for resisting and pushing against reality — the complete acceptance of what is. It didn’t only make me feel better but produced better results as well.
5. I Gave Up Chasing Success
Financial success is a powerful motivator and it controls the life of many instead of the other way around. Today, we are surrounded with books, seminars, articles, and workshops aimed at making us more successful.
I was consumed by the thought of having success. I was racing to become a man of success by learning all the marks of a successful person on the outside. I knew how to dress, talk the talk and walk the walk. I had set my eyes on the goal of being a success so much that I forgot the most important intrinsic part of being a real success.
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
Me giving up on chasing success enabled me to seek value. Success won’t be remembered, but value does. Value carries on — when positively changing the life of another person, that person passes on to another, and so it goes on and on.
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