Daily Blog

If You Want Success, Figure Out the Price


I recently read this quote from Dilbert creator, Scott Adams —

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard goes something like this: If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power.

And he's 100% right. 

In my coaching practice, I see well-intended athletes who strive for a degree of success yet are not fully aware of the price for it. It frustrates not only them but myself, as well as their support network. 

In athletics, everyone on the team wants to see the athlete successful, maybe none more than the coach, save of course, the competitor. However, desire means nothing if awareness and acceptance of the price of success is not sharp and accurate. 

Humans have a variety of cognitive biases and one is often underestimating the cost of a very difficult task. We tend to think things are easier than they really are. Winning is such a task. Winning anything of merit is very hard.  Especially as the stakes elevate and the competition gets more skilled. 

And this gets many in trouble, myself included.

For far longer than I'd care to admit, I grossly underestimated the difficulty of being successful at a regional, national, or world-class level in distance running demanded. But experiences, maturity, and awareness have changed my outlook.

Today, I spend a significant amount of time working with athletes to help them understand the true price of the competitiveness they wish to enjoy. And then work to align them with that price they need to pay, which is often far steeper than either of us originally thought. 

But, thankfully, few are scared off by the charge. Rather, most true competitors are renewed and excited by the challenge to expand themselves to meet the call. 

And this behavioral response, I am discovering, more than anything else, is the precursor to eventual success not only in athletics, but the game of life.


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm 

Jonathan Marcus