Dear High Achiever:

Zig Ziglar. For students of success like you and me, he’s a living legend. Over the last forty years Zig has touched millions of people around the world with his motivational message and wisdom. (You can find many of his quite quotable quotes if you simply Google “Zig Ziglar Quotes.”)

And if you like our FYI/TGIM newsletter: You might find Zig’s of interest as well. It’s one I read every day. I have a folder in my Outlook where I store every newsletter I subscribe to and I’ve created a habit of going back and reading over the titles once a month just for a jolt of inspiration and creativity.

Glancing through there recently I was reminded of a quote from Zig that fit the context of what I want to share with you today.

Here’s it is:

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness

is trading what you want the most

for what you want now.”

What do you want now? Like you, I want to experience all of the “good stuff” life has to offer.

But this is where the proverbial fork in the road comes up and this is where I see people getting tripped up and ending up with a life of mediocrity. They’re not doing “what is necessary” or being “prepared to compromise” by sacrificing short term inconvenience for long term happiness or gain. Make sense?

Have you exchanged long-term happiness and success for immediate gratification?

In Zig’s quote he uses the word “unhappiness”.

Unhappiness is a heavy word, for me.

If there is one thing I’ve decided I must have in my life, its happiness. And I take my happiness seriously. What I mean is, I am actively and consistently thinking about the things that make me the happiest or feel good. I work hard at creating and designing my life so I’m doing the things that make me happy most of the time.

I have a high sensitivity and awareness of what makes me happy and unhappy. I do everything in my power to control my environment so I can stay in the state of “Happy.”

I also do everything I can to avoid the state of “unhappy” which includes staying away from people who are generally unhappy. Unhappy people can be like a contagious disease … they can be like the bad apple that spoils the barrel or the big dark cloud that threatens to ruin a good beach day.

I use to feel obligated to “convert’ the unhappy people in my life and try to make them happy.

Not anymore. The only person’s happiness I’m responsible for is mine. Now don’t misunderstand, my happiness doesn’t come at the expense of someone’s unhappiness.

FYI - For Your Information and Inspiration: Happiness, like everything in life is a choice. You and I have the power to choose what to be, do and have every day. I choose happiness.

So why isn’t this message called “Happiness’ or something like that?

Because, as Zig points out, when we’re in pursuit of happiness there’s often -

The Tradeoff. And that tradeoff plays into your overall success and happiness.

It starts with self-discipline. Taking personal responsibility for your success and the necessary action to achieve what you want in the long-term.

When I think of the successful people I’ve studied and the ones that I have personal relationships with, there are a couple of words that come to mind.


Two words or three? It really doesn’t matter. Like Edison said, “There are no rules here - we’re trying to accomplish something.” (That’s another good quote to put in your success tool-box. I’ll take progress over perfection any day. But back to the main idea here –

According to the definitions for Self-Discipline and Tradeoff are:

ability to motivate self: the ability to do what is necessary or sensible without needing to be urged by somebody else.

exchange involving compromise: a situation in which somebody is prepared to compromise by giving up all or part of one thing in exchange for another

You see, there are always distractions in your life.There is always another event; someone or something that would like your attention.

Your challenge is staying focused. Just like a college kid who decides to go to the frat party instead of studying for the exam.

There’s a Tradeoff. Pass or fail. C- or cum laude. Immediate gratification or grad school. Corner office or “You want fries with that?”

Here’s another example: Speaking personally, I’d rather have the promise of an early bed and a great workout the next morning then what staying up late watching TV or going to a party has to offer. The tradeoff for me is a no-brainer because I know the short and long-term benefits.

Here’s another timely example: It’s like investing. Sometimes (actually most of the time) it’s slow, long and boring. There is nothing extremely exciting about automatic deposits into mutual funds, college funds and other financial products. The long-term benefit of boring monthly deposits to create wealth is worth the Tradeoff.

Similarly: You can live below your means, have zero credit card debt, your house paid in full, own all of your cars because you paid cash and have your investments rocking! Or, you can attempt to keep up with the Johnson’s and leverage yourself beyond your means and be stressed-out and in debt.

What do you want the most? Do you have the self-discipline to see past the attractive short-term temptation to achieve the bigger happiness of the big payoff that awaits the patient striver toward a bigger goal? That’s the Tradeoff you want to make.

And that’s something to consider!

Go Out and Make This Your Best Year Ever!

Author's Bio: 

Eric Taylor is the Chief Inspiration Officer of and founder of New Jersey based Empowerment Group International. He delivers more than 100 energized and interactive keynotes, workshops and seminars each year to corporations, associations and tradeshows. He is the author of the Energy Passport, Co-creator of the Best Year Ever! Success System and Co-author of The Complete Sales Training Encyclopedia. To get complete details about Eric’s background, his products and services, visit Eric Taylor’s Blog and review Eric Taylor’s Profile.