Heavy Price of Becoming Successful

People assume that if successful people have better chance or opportunity, then most others assume that the successful people have been stealing other people’s opportunities. People feel personally attacked and ask themselves “Why not me?”. Often, some people will ask “Why him?” or “Why her?” because in their mind, they say “he/she isn’t worth the opportunity!”.

Many people hate other people’s career growth or having new opportunity. They say “Oh, congratulation”, but their body signs show “Not really. I am jealous. I hate you”, which is nearly 50~80% times true. They will cross their arms, cross their legs, or have a flat face without emotion, or give a fake smile (Source: Psychology Today). Personally, I find that if you can honestly and truthfully see positive side of successful people’s growth, then you have paused your growth mindset.

Every successful people have small start. Even the billionaire Elon Musk worked at a coffee shop with minimum wage, slept in friend’s dorm, took showers at a gym, and saved money for his startup. But no body seems to notice the hardship the successful people took. They just note their success and not their processes.

What did the successful people sacrifice in the process of trying to achieve the potentially total failure or perhaps 1-10% success rate company? They sacrificed so much….

1. Social Life: You are now officially a workaholic.
Success comes with huge sacrifice of your social life. Once you focus on succeeding, you can’t possibly think of having a “party” or “drinking event with friends” or “go to favorite movies” unless your job requires networking. Many people want to go party, play computer games, watch the latest live shows or attend funny comedy or even date a hot girl/guy next door. All of that fun things are minimized, which can make successful people depressed.

2.  Financially Scrawny 
Seriously. The smart successful people, when they start their startups, are very tactful in using their budget and financially scrawny. They stop buying the fancy clothes, Starbucks coffee, new summer shopping shoes, and even pause their vacations. They start with small $20,000 seed money or $30,000 to sustain their business idea for next 2-3 years. That’s very small incentive to stay focused.

3. They sleep less.
Many startup CEOs spent their time focusing on building their assets and steps to create new opportunities. They slept much less than many others, stayed awake more hours, worked for longer and focused hours. We all have the same 24 hours. But successful people plan their time around “their work”, so they drop everything else and put 200% on getting the job done. I’ve previously slept only 4 hours/day for months because my job required me to think strategically and build ways to find more patients. Yes, you can do the four hours sleeping, but you would have to sacrifice the warm bed hours. It can be very difficult at first, but it is possible.

4. Psychological happiness is dramatically reduced
With tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, many startup CEOs feel depressed. It’s very common to feel angry, exhausted, tired, and overwhelming. But, at the same time, you have to look great in front of the public since you want your business to succeed. Successful people suffer from hidden depression and hide with other obsessions – drinking, smoking, reading, or eating. They also have to be confident in front of their employees, despite overwhelming stresses. So, instead of getting depressed, many CEOs often laugh and make jokes to relieve their stress. If you don’t believe my word, you should check CEO Aaron Levie from 2015 and compare to his 2013 photo, you will notice his hair has completely changed from black to white. This hair change pattern is consistent with many U.S presidents, including Obama, Bill Clinton, and George Bush. Your hair will turn “WHITE” from stress.

5. More Prone to Diseases 
With the high level of stress, many CEOs have to continue maintain their health. Otherwise, they risk of suffering from heart disease, arthritis, muscle pain, smoking/drinking/gambling addiction, as well as potential suicidal thoughts. Famous and successful people have done illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin), partied like wild animals, gambled without consequences, or attempted to hang themselves.

So the next time you meet a CEO or a startup CEO, don’t just assume he/she had all the lucks, charms and no sacrifice. He/she has sacrificed many hours of happiness, social life, and free time to build his/her business. Assumption can be very biased, so try to understand first and evaluate someone’s success with deep thoughts.

Thank you for reading this post.
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