Know the Cost

When you walk into a store to buy something, you expect there is going to be a cost.

You look at the items you are interested in. You confirm the price. Finally, you make a decision as to whether you can afford it or want to spend the money.

Knowing the cost makes it easier to part with the money, and get what you want.

Imagine though, if you never had any idea what anything cost until after you had decided to buy it. You had to make a buying decision before you knew the cost.

This is exactly what most achievements are like in life: we make a decision to do or be something before we actually know the cost.

To get in shape costs daily exercise and saying no to tasty foods.
To be in a relationship costs staying committed even through tough times.
To become very skilled at something costs years of effort, trial, and error.
To get paid a salary costs being an obedient employee.

In everyday life, these ‘costs’ aren’t displayed before we choose to ‘buy’ into the dream.

Upon reflection, I believe this is exactly the reason why I have given up on many things in the past: I didn’t actually know the cost before I bought into them. As I started to pay the cost, I felt like the deal wasn’t worth it, and my desire for the goal faded.

This year, I decided to compete for the third time in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, to work towards my goal of becoming a World Champion of Public Speaking. 

My first attempt was in 2014, and again in 2015. Both years, I underestimated the amount of effort, fatigue, and frustration that it would cost me to go for this goal.

Somehow, this year my focus was different. Even before I decided to enter the first round of the contest, I knew that I was deciding to pay a big cost. I knew the price tag of daily practice, weekly speech runs, the financial cost of expert coaching, and having to take on seemingly endless feedback.

I knew this was actually what I would be doing for the first 8 months of the year if I wanted to move towards my goal.

In essence, I agreed to pay the cost before I bought into the goal.

The more I have thought about this, it seems a better way to frame any goal you have. If you know the cost upfront, you can then make a clear decision as to whether you actually want to go for it.

Know the cost. 

Decide to pay the cost. 

Get what you want.


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