You worked hard and became successful, but at what cost? And if you aren’t successful yet but wish to be someday (like we all do), do you know what is the true cost of success? For most people, success doesn’t come easily. You have to invest your time, money, and effort to achieve what you desire. Additionally, there are some things you will have to sacrifice to be successful. The sacrifices you make are the cost of success.

But how do you define success?

Since everyone is different, we all have different definitions of success. We have personal goals, for example, becoming rich, getting fit, starting a business, or learning a skill, and what we consider the best methods to reach them. For this reason, not every successful person pays the same price for success. The things one person sacrifices to succeed may not be the same ones another gives up to get to where they want.

Even when the things you sacrifice to be successful are similar, each person’s goals and experiences will likely differ. Hence, they may feel the cost of success at different magnitudes. Read on to discover some of the sacrifices you have to make to be successful in life.

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10 Things You Might Have to Sacrifice to Be Successful

  1. Family

Your family, whether it is your parents, siblings, extended members, or your significant other and kids, is top on the list of things you may have to sacrifice to be successful. While chasing your dreams, you might prioritize work over your family. You could start taking them for granted because you reason that, since they are your family, they will always be there, but your job and money require more of your time and effort.

Unfortunately, most successful people’s marriages don’t last. Over the past years, the rate of divorces among celebrities and other famous wealthy people has been rising, examples being Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott, as well as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Other than the common causes of divorce, successful people separate for reasons such as differing goals and lack of time for family. Also, unlike less wealthy people, the decision to get a divorce is easier for successful people because they can financially support themselves and their dependents even after the divorce.

  1. Social life

You may also have to give up your social life on your journey to success. As you embrace hustle culture and chase your dreams, you could start to view anything that doesn’t contribute to your success as a waste of time. For example, you will not want to spend your time and effort on anything that doesn’t relate to your professional life or isn’t a means to increase your wealth.

With your goals being your priority, you may stop hanging out with friends, staying in touch with them, and attending social events. Instead, you will prefer to use your time doing some work, in meetings, improving your skills, advancing your education, or learning new things that can contribute to your success.

The lack of common interests and topics of conversation with other less ambitious, less intelligent, or less successful people could also discourage successful people from wanting to socialize with others.

READ ALSO: 7 Traits That Make Introverts Great Leaders

  1. Relationships

Your relationships with your partner, friends, and even colleagues are other things you might have to sacrifice to be successful. Depending on the nature of each relationship, you will experience the cost of success differently.

For example, you may have to sacrifice love on your success journey as you focus on your career. You will never spare time to form deep, meaningful connections or maintain a relationship. Perhaps, this is why so many successful people choose to stay single or settle for people they don’t love. Others find love and get married later in life when they have already achieved their goals. If you get into a relationship while still trying to be successful, you may not give your partner the attention, care, and support they need. 

Another cost of success is the friendships that don’t align with your current focus; being prosperous. For example, unambitious people, pessimists, and friends who like partying instead of working hard may have to go. Furthermore, on your journey to success, you may have to sacrifice relationships with colleagues and business partners because you are too focused on your goals to care about all the people you step on or betray to achieve them.

  1. Health

As you overwork yourself trying to reach your goals, your health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual– is another thing you may have to sacrifice to be successful. Depending on your job and your strategy for achieving success, you might have to spend many hours being physically active or sitting and staring at a computer screen. You could also miss meals and get less than enough sleep every night.

Working too hard puts you at risk of health issues such as back pain, posture problems, eye problems, and conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle, including cardiovascular diseases, obesity, stroke, and diabetes.

Your mental health is another cost of success. You will always be busy working and never take time off to rest and recharge. You may be constantly stressed out and anxious as you work hard and wait to see the results of your efforts, then get depressed if you fail. Since you are probably also sleep-deprived, you will not have the energy to be patient with others. Hence, you may get easily irritated by small things at work and home.

READ ALSO: The Health Risks of Being a Writer and How to Prevent Them

  1. Free time

As mentioned earlier, if you are too focused on your goals and success, anything that doesn’t contribute directly to your professional life is often neglected. Thus, me time, breaks, hobbies, and fun activities are other things you may have to sacrifice to be successful. Though these things could be good for your physical and mental health and even enhance your productivity, you may choose not to prioritize them.

Unfortunately, the demand for your time doesn’t end when you achieve your goals. You will continue to pay this cost of success for the entire length of time you want to remain on top. After becoming successful, your responsibilities may increase, and you might become even busier. Additionally, the people who report to you may keep intruding into your personal time with various issues they need your help to resolve, and thus you end up with no real free time.

  1. Morality

The business world is a tricky place. You have to deal with different types of people, and, sometimes, you may be forced to do things that go against your values to achieve what you want. Therefore, your morality is one of the things you might have to sacrifice to be successful.

For example, you may choose to lie in interviews, on reports, and when conducting transactions for your own benefit. Many people sacrifice their morality for success and are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter who they hurt in the process or the laws they may have to break.

  1. Comfort

Unless you are lucky, you can’t be successful while in your comfort zone. You will need to work hard, put yourself out there, take risks, and dedicate extra time to achieving your goals. As such, comfort is one of the things you have to sacrifice to be successful.

On your success journey, you may have to give up the regular paycheck and financial security provided by a 9-5 corporate job to follow your passion and start your own business. You will also have to work long hours to complete more tasks. And it doesn’t end when you reach your goals.

Even after becoming successful, you can’t be too comfortable because you still have to work hard to remain at the top. You also have to manage your team and take responsibility for your mistakes and theirs. Are you willing to pay this cost of success?

READ ALSO: Why Being Self-employed Is so Hard and Tips to Make It Easier

  1. Privacy

Your privacy is another of the things you will have to sacrifice to be successful. Success often puts you in the spotlight, and hence many people will want to know you better. They may intrude into your private life to discover your story and intimate details about your personal life.

Though the invasion of privacy can happen to any ordinary person who becomes successful, it is most common for celebrities. With the increasing popularity of social media platforms, many people, especially influencers or others hoping to become famous and earn from it, often sacrifice their privacy by sharing details of their personal life with the world.

However, the loss of privacy comes with many problems, including cyberbullies, stalkers, burglars, drama, mental health issues, lack of freedom, and inauthenticity. If you become famous because of your achievements, the loss of privacy will be the cost of your success.

READ ALSO: 6 Reasons Why You Should Keep Your Personal Life Private (and How to Do It)

  1. Ego

Many leaders are considered jerks because they are egotistical, arrogant and rude. But did you know that ego is one of the things you have to sacrifice to be successful? These leaders may be egotistical now that they have achieved their goal of getting to the top, but most of them had to be humble to get there.

Nearly all successful people had to put their egos aside and interact with people they would rather not. They also had to learn how to receive negative feedback and hold their tongue when tempted to talk back to their superiors back then. They had to be vulnerable and ask, perhaps even beg, for help when they needed it to accomplish their objectives.

Many of those who are successful now had to do things they thought were beneath them. So, to be successful, you must sacrifice your ego and be humble and ready to work amicably with others.

  1. The old you

Have you ever looked back and missed the person you used to be? The things we go through in life change us and shape who we become. Thus, if you took the long route to success, that is, working hard, not getting lucky, and becoming successful overnight, the cost of success may be yourself.

Your experiences on the journey to success will change you in many ways – from your personality, values, attitude, behavior, and priorities to your lifestyle and the company you keep. The person you used to be is one of the things you may have to sacrifice to be successful. Note that success can change you as a person, either positively or negatively.

READ ALSO: 10 Signs It Is Time to Change Careers and Why

The Bottom Line

Now you know the true cost of success, and as you can see, it isn’t cheap. So, as you chase your dreams, you have to ask yourself whether you are ready to pay and sacrifice any of these things to be successful. Will the cost of success be worth it?

Either way, to be successful, you have to be willing to give up some things. You only have to ensure that you will not regret the things you sacrifice to be successful later. You shouldn’t get so wrapped up in chasing your dreams that you lose everything else and end up alone on your deathbed filled with regrets about the things you gave up for success.

After evaluation, if you realize that the cost of success is not worth it, you should redefine what success means to you. Set new goals that ensure you don’t sacrifice valuable things to be successful. Always remember to be smart when choosing what to give up for success.


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