“People will cling to an unsatisfactory way of life rather than change in order to get something better for fear of getting something worse.” – Eric Hoffer
If you’ve ever heard of Eric Hoffer, you’re one step ahead of me! Regardless of whether either of us know who he is, that statement absolutely rings true! Are you thinking of someone you know that this applies to right now? Is it you? It has certainly described me more times than I care to admit.
Just about three and a half years ago, I was working 12-13 hours a day in a job I no longer enjoyed. I was earning more income than I ever had at that point in my life but it was taking a toll on me and my relationship with Cindy. At that point, I had been with that particular company for about 18 years; almost my entire adult life. I had worked pretty hard and had gotten several promotions and a bit of recognition along the way, and I really didn’t know anything else…
John Maxwell opens chapter 11 of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, The Law of Trade-Offs, with that quote from Eric Hoffer. I guess he had seen and experienced this same kind of thing a few times too… He closes the opening page of this chapter by asking “Are you willing to give up (something) for a chance at doing something that will take you closer to your potential?”
I’ll spare you the details but after the proverbial straw broke this camel’s back, I started making some Trade-Offs of my own! I left the company I had worked at for nearly 19 years, giving up 4 weeks of paid vacation, nearly 3 more weeks’ worth of paid holidays, and a good benefits package, all for a salary that was about 25% less than I was making just 6 months prior. And that has turned out to be one of the BEST decisions I’ve made in my career! While that decision was a big one, Cindy and I have made a series of others since then that’s opened the doors to several really awesome opportunities. But without that change, I don’t know that any of the others would have ever been available.
The premise to The Law of Trade-Offs is You Have to Give Up to Grow Up. Are you holding onto something comfortable that’s keeping you from growing to a new level?