Most of us want to be successful (whatever that means). We want to be a good spouse, a good parent, a good worker, a good friend. However, often these goals are at odds with each other.
For example, to be a good worker, you might have to put in overtime, which means less time with the family. As a result, you might not be as good a spouse or a parent.
And what if the goal is to not be merely good but rather great or even outstanding in a particular role? Then your ability to be good at other roles becomes even harder. You might be only acceptable, or even worse, at other roles in your life.
In fact, it would seem that if you want to be really good at something, then by necessity other areas of your life will suffer.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are you willing to sacrifice?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What do you believe?’
That doesn’t mean, of course, that you can only be good at one thing. It is possible to be good at many things. However, the larger the list of things at which you are good decreases the number of things at which you might be great.
Therefore, it is important to set priorities. Determine which aspects of your life are the most important to you. Correspondingly, what are the areas that are not as important? Not that they aren’t important at all, just that they are less important.
This can be really difficult. There are probably some things that you really like that you have to be willing to sacrifice, in order to be better and more effective at what you decide is the most important. Perhaps you are willing to sacrifice your career for your family. Maybe you sacrifice sleep for a hobby. Or maybe a more fulfilling job is given up for a more lucrative one.
For your theoretical list, what are your most important goals? And what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve them? What are you not willing to sacrifice?
Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? How do you define success? Why do we put up with unhappiness? How do you set priorities? What material possession means the most to you? What gives you purpose?