Article by Stuart Goldsmith
Despite what those slick-suited seminar-gurus tell you, every
decision you take in life has a shadow partner – the life you
cannot now lead because you took that decision.
A few simple examples will prove the point.
You take a career decision to become a surgeon; but doing this
precludes you from being a lawyer.
As a woman you decide to marry and have a family. The
consequence is that your career is on hold for a minimum of five
years and more like fifteen or twenty.
You decide to go to the cinema; you cannot also spend the evening
in a fine restaurant.
You decide to give up drinking; you cannot now go boozing with
You decide to start thinking for yourself; you lose most of your
Every decision you take has consequences.
Every decision, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, sets
your life on a slightly different course. This is why, as Jim
Rohn says, “Everything matters.”
Even inaction has its consequences.
If you decide just to float down life’s stream, and the current
sweeps you randomly into the left tributary, you cannot also
enjoy the right tributary. If you sleep all day, you cannot also
play your favorite sport on that day.
This tiny handful of examples should prove to you immediately
that you cannot have it all. It is so obvious that it is hardly
worth saying, and yet there are at least two top seminar gurus on
the circuit at the moment who are claiming that you can. In fact,
I’m fairly certain that I have seen a book and a tape series
entitled “You CAN have it all.”
Wrong! But far more importantly, every decision you take to
improve your life, no matter how trivial, will have an associated
cost – a price that you will have to pay in order to achieve that
The price usually involves the sacrifice of one aspect of your
life, in order to achieve more in your main area of endeavor.
Here’s a simple example. You’re a single guy, and you decide to
spend every evening for the next three months decorating and
improving your house from top to bottom in order that you might
sell it for the best price. This will allow you to realize your
goal of moving up the housing market. You really want a detached
house and have a burning desire to move out of the
poverty-stricken terraced-house neighborhood in which you live.
Great goal! But the principle is that you can’t have it all, so
what is the price that you will pay for choosing this route?
Answer: It will kill your social life for the next three months.
No drinking, no clubbing, no frittering away your time with the
mates. Who knows, you might have met your future wife at one of
those missed evenings at the club, but instead you were home,
working. The pathways of your life divide. You follow one which
leads to a brighter, better tomorrow – according to your best
judgment, of course. The other diverges sharply, blinks and
shimmers uncertainly before fading out to join the countless
millions of other ‘might have beens.’ You never meet that woman,
you never marry and have children with her.
Another example: Charles sets himself the goal of becoming super
successful; really mega-rich. This man wants £100 million, he
wants it badly and he’s going to get it. Now that’s a lot of
money and far more than I will see in my lifetime, and I’ve seen
plenty! Now ask yourself seriously, can this man have it all?
Can he work the demanding 12 hour days, 350 days each year
which are required to achieve this level of success and be a
perfect father who never misses his son’s football matches or his
daughter’s clarinet concert? Can he be a perfect husband who is
always home from the office by 5:30 to peck his wife on the
cheek; who’s never late for a dinner party with friends? Can he
shoot for super success and also be a competent odd-job man who
spends weekends and evenings tinkering with the plumbing, or
installing new work-surfaces, pipe clenched firmly between teeth?
Let’s go further. Can he try for mega-wealth, and also be a ‘good
old mate’ to a bunch of lads down at the local? Can he play for
darts’ team Tuesdays and Thursdays? Can he say “yes” to a ten day
skiing holiday with his friends? Is he likely to be an active
his local choir or amateur dramatics group? The answer is no.
Shooting for this level of wealth requires laser-beam focus.
be late night and breakfast meetings; urgent problems to sort out
requiring him to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice;
midnight telephone calls – you name it.
Let us probe deeper. Will others consider him to be a reliable
friend? In other words, are people likely to say of him “Good old
Charlie, he’s a real pal. You’ve only got to pick up the phone
hour of the day or night and he’s there for you.”?
I don’t think so, do you?
Charles is on a fast track to super-success; this track is not
open to any old mooch or bum, it requires extraordinary
discipline and effort. It requires 100% commitment; and total
dedication to the task in hand. This level of success commands a
high price, not surprisingly, otherwise every half-witted,
unfocused fool in the country would be doing it.
Whilst we are on the subject, let us ask: “Will Charles have
many, or indeed any, friends?”
Friendship has a high time-overhead, in case you haven’t noticed.
You have to call each friend at least once a week and meet them
at least once a fortnight, otherwise they fairly rapidly drop out
of your circle of mates. With only a dozen chums, you will find
that most evenings and weekends, indeed almost every spare moment
you have, will be consumed in meeting friends for a drink,
chatting on the telephone to catch up with all the gossip, coffee
mornings, driving endlessly to and fro from their tiresome
houses, dandling their squawking brats on your knee and going
“coochy-coo,” letter writing, e-mails and returning mutual
Your life is thus reduced to working, sleeping, and entertainment
(socializing). It would not be overstating the case to say that
this describes most people’s lives. There is nothing wrong with
that, if the major life-goal you have set yourself is ‘to be a
good friend to as many people as humanly possible.’ But can you
do this and be a super success? Can Charles shoot for his hundred
million, and be the person I just described? Can Charles have it
The answer is tritely obvious. No he cannot. If he is to achieve
his dream, he must pay the price – and the price is a big one.
Copyright Stuart Goldsmith. All Rights Reserved.
Article excerpted from Stuart Goldsmith’s latest book, “7 Secrets Of The Millionaires”. Stuart is a British multi-millionaire author and lecturer. He created a $16 million fortune starting from a position of heavy debt, average intelligence and no special skills. He has taught thousands of people how to get wealthy through his books and courses.