What Are You Willing To Give Up?

What are you willing to give up?

The world talks about what they want

They talk about following your passion. Living the dream and a bunch of other cliches.

But nobody every talks about what they’re willing to give up.

Ask someone what they want (if they can actually answer that question) and you’ll get a myriad of answers:

  • A good career
  • Freedom to travel
  • The ability to be your own boss.
  • Lots of money
  • Time with loved oneso

People spend hours writing out lists of what they want and things they want to do.

And they’re all good things.

But, here’s my question: so what?

Who doesn’t want to have to more money, and freedom while looking and feeling better every single day?

Everyone wants that.

Wanting something isn’t enough.

Sure, it matters what you want – but it doesn’t really matter all that much.

Figuring out what you want is a useful, but ultimately unsatisfying question to figure out the answer to.

The real question is this:

What are you willing to give up?

And it matters a whole lot more…



A new Tesla Roadster starts at $101,500.

You can really want a Roadster. You can go to the nearest store, test drive it and look at how pretty it is.

You can talk about how bad you want it and how you’d loooooove to have it.

But it costs $101,500

And until you’re willing to part with $101,500 – until you’re willing to write that check, then no matter how much you want it, (barring an act of God or Oprah or Batkid), you’ll never have it.

If you spent most of your time bumming around a store and talking about how much you want a Tesla, but never whip out your checkbook, you won’t ever get it (and people will probably look at you out of the side of their head and wonder why you spend so much time talking about getting a Tesla and so little time actually moving towards acquiring a Tesla).

That’s why most people don’t get what they want – and it has nothing to do with whether or not you actually want to buy a Tesla. They think wanting it is enough – when wanting it is just the start. When it’s time to check out, to write the check to do what is required in order to achieve the goal, they back out because it’s too hard. It’s IMPOSSIBLE.

Wanting it isn’t enough…

If you want to do something impossible – get clear on what you’re willing to give up.

Then when you’re asked to give it up – check your gut. If you’re all in – you’re all in. Then do it without a second thought. Jump and don’t look down.

There’s no use figuring out what you want if you’re not willing to pay the price.

So ask yourself:

What are you willing to give up to get what you want?

Grow Stronger, Do The Impossible

Get weekly emails on how to build a stronger mind, a stronger body and stronger life and do the impossible.

No Spam. Ever.


  1. says

    Good point Joel. On the flip side, people have already decided they’re willing to give up 30-50+ years of their future/lives in order to get to eat candies today…

  2. says


    This is an awesome perspective that I haven’t focused on before.

    I listen to the wisdom of a guy named Kyle Cease, a transformational comedian, and he says “people can always see what they’ll lose when they let go of something, but they can never see what they’ll gain”

    I just wrote a list of everything I wanted to accomplish. Tonight, I’ll write a list of everything I’m willing to lose for them!

    Thanks Joel, you badass.

  3. Bryce P says

    I made the decision recently that I finally wanted more freedom to jumpstart my own photo/video production business and grow my opportunities as a freelance editor. For years, I’ve put those dreams aside because of a comfortable, full time job providing myself “secure” income, and my own insecurities about “being ready.” Last week, I flipped the switch; I quit my job. I realized that what I wanted was more important than what I was willing to give up.

    I know the road ahead will be difficult and lean, but the outcome will far outweigh the struggle. I’d rather live lean working towards my dreams, rather than continuing to live dreaming and never achieving. I haven’t felt this good and confident in months.

    Thanks Joel.

  4. Dan says

    Nailed it. Sums up nicely what’s been nagging me recently.
    It’s the law of trade-offs: You’ve got to be willing to give up something to go up.

  5. Stephen says

    First class!! I don’t know if the whole of life is reducible to a series of transactions but your point is well made and certainly struck a chord with me. Reminds me of the opening lines from the Cohen Bros’ “True Grit” “You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God”

    Thanks Joel for keeping me thinking and focused. CST at the three months mark now – and seeing results in all sorts of small ways.

  6. Mark says


    I have been following your exploits for quite awhile now. Your insight is very welcomed and appreciated.

    Please allow me to share something that has taken me 50+ years to understand. My whole life I have been searching for that thing that will make me happy, satisfied, successful, accomplished whatever descriptive word you want to use. I made those lists and gave up those things that would get me the gains I was looking for. But, I can tell you none of it mattered. Because what I have come to realize is that my ego would never be satisfied with what I had or accomplished. I would always want more.

    You see my ego needs to feed on conflict, chaos, guilt, anger etc.. and when I finally witnessed this fact I came to understand that all I need to make me at peace and have a life full of love and creativity was to accept my True Self. Many people will call it spirit, source, God, Allah or whatever the label doesn’t matter. What matters is that I now understand that my ego is not who I REALLY am. I am so much more that. I am love and peace and creativity and joy.

    My life is changing dramatically right now. After reading your article I was moved by your insight and I wanted to reach out with my experience with the hope you could find something helpful within it.

    Thank you,


  7. says

    It is all about being willing to change isn’t it? We hang on to those things that give us immediate reward, rather than actions to develop our character and invest in what we can accomplish. Great topic, Joel. Thanks

  8. Roberto Gonzalez says

    This article is a reflection of poor man’s thinking. I agree with nothing.

    Rich people think AND. How can I do this or have this AND that. I do not have give up anything. Just creative more.

    • says

      Sure – but you still have to exchange something for it. If you think that “rich people” simply get everything without any personal outlay – you are sorely mistaken.

      • Roberto Gonzalez says

        Yes, but . . . always translates into “no.”

        I am rich. I know exactly what it takes and NO it does not take the thinking are you describing. You are sorely misguided and are taking others along for the ride.

        Any energy and effort must be based on passion and joy, not suffering. Giving something up is suffering and people avoid pain as much as possible.

        Yes, you do have to put in time and there certainly are bumps in the road but if you do in with attitude you are recommending and defending, you will fail.

        • says

          Hey Roberto,

          Please post a screenshot of your bank account. I find most “rich” people don’t brag about in the comments of sites :)

          In the meantime, I suggest you read Think & Grow Rich – there are a lot of smarter & richer people than either you or I who would vehemently disagree with your entire assertion.

  9. Hannah says

    Thank you so much for this post Joel! Its because of reading your posts that I’ve decided to make changes in my life, not small changes -big changes. I don’t know if I ever would have done them without being inspired here at impossible hq. I recently started to get complacent and accept what I wasn’t satisfied with, but after reading this, I think it’s time to run on at full speed and be willing to give up unnecessary things to do what needs to be done. Stay inspired Joel and never give up!

  10. Steve says

    I really enjoyed you post but was wondering if you could do a follow up where you give specifics. For example, in the case of someone who wants a new car they would have to give up going out to dinner for a year to save the money or something like that. And do you have any examples of things you’ve given up to get what you wanted? Thanks.

  11. says

    I’m with you. I recently had to give up on freedom. I found myself going out too often and being too careless. I moved back home for the self-discipline and to save money while I pursue my next challenge.

  12. angeline says

    Wow Joel, that is so true. Something has got to give, be it time, money or energy but at the end when you look back at what you have accomplished because of that sacrifice you will feel good about yourself and your accomplishment. But you need to understand the extent of sacrifice and if you are willing to go all the way.

    Great advice Joel.

  13. says

    Very motivating and very true. We tend to want “it”, make plans, right it down, but never execute. It’s it time execute. and but those plans into actions. Thanks for the push.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *