35@35 #4: Cost

5889796446_c2e236de5a_oTC's Guidelines and Principles for Life #4: "Everything has a price." When you walk into a store and you decide what kind of jacket or computer or which options you want on the car you're buying, at some point in this process, you're going to look at the price tag on these items.

Heck, the price tag may be the first thing you look at. No sense in deciding you like something if it's way out of your price range, right?

But say you see two jackets that you like equally. The tie breaker is probably going to be the cost, right? No sense paying $100 if you'd be just as happy with the $60 one.

Sometimes we look at the price tag last. A bride looking at wedding dresses is probably going to find the dress of her dreams and then look at the price tag after finding it.

The bottom line is that we understand when we go shopping that everything has a cost. We need to keep the same thing in mind with everything in life.

Want your dream job? Here's the (likely) price tag: time, energy and money spent on a degree and/or training; building a network of people to help you get jobs which prepare and qualify you for your dream job; time spent combing through job posts, creating resumes and participating in interviews; handling and fighting through rejection when it comes your way.

Want to play an instrument? The cost will be hours of monotonous practice each week. And if it's guitar, a lot of pain in your fingertips.

Want a healthy marriage/relationship? There's a great cost in denying your selfish wants and putting your significant other first. Going to movies you might hate (easy), caring for them in sickness (harder), having to work through arguments (varies), and so on.

Heck, being a blogger has cost me a great deal of time and energy. But it's been worth it to me. I have found and refined my voice through the hundreds of posts. A voice that I have then been given the privilege of using to share my thoughts in various forums: Relevant magazine, a national TV show, and as a teaching pastor at Abundant Life Church in Glen Burnie, MD.

When I go back and look at my first posts, they're not very good. Part of the price for me was doing something that I was so imperfect at in order to get better.

When I was in great shape, completing Tough Mudders and Triathlons, I assure you I was paying a great price in training - 600-800 miles per year.

Everything has a price. The questions is not whether you can do something. The question is 'are you willing to pay the price to get what you want?'

Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.

Not everything I do will be something I've spent 10,000 hours doing. But the things that are important to me, I will put in that time.

I will put 10,000 hours into reading so that I can learn to see life from different perspectives.

I will put 10,000 hours into sharing my thoughts in public forums because I love being part of grand discussions.

I new somebody once who told me she wanted to me a musician. I asked her if she was taking lessons for singing or playing. She said no. I asked if she was making demos to share online. She said no.

It seemed that she was waiting for her dream to show up and knock on her door one day. I tried to tell her that it doesn't work like that. You have to go get your dream.

Looking in the front window of the dream store and saying you wish you could have the thing you love is never going to get you any closer to actually having it.

Because that dream you have of being a writer, or personal trainer, or painter, or professor, or bus driver, or minister, or CEO, or whatever has a price tag on it.

Go start paying that price.

Because people who reach their dreams are people who pay the price.

Al Michaels is a famous sports broadcaster. I heard him tell the story of how he used to do broadcasting at any podunk school or college that would let him do it so that he could learn. He got his big break when he was an announcer in Hawaii.

His comment in the interview I listened to is that sometimes you need a lucky break, but you've got to do the work so that you're ready for that lucky break.

I don't have a magic formula for you to be guaranteed of the dream job you want. If you tell me it's president, I would say it's unlikely, but I would also say that nobody ever accidentally became president. Nobody who fails to pay the price gets the prize.

And those who worked hard to become president learned valuable lessons and met valuable people that opened other doors to them.

The Superbowl is coming up in about a week. Nobody in that game came into the season fat and out of shape, wondering what their goal was.

Not everybody who prepares will be champion, but the champion will not be somebody who was unprepared.

Because, to quote one of my favorite movies, Remember the Titans:

Champions pay the price.



35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.