You Get What You Pay For

They say the best things in life are free. It would be nice if that were true, and perhaps if you’re talking about money, it has a ring of truth to it. However, it is the unfortunate truth that anything worth having has a cost associated with it, something we have to give up in order to have it. Many times it is money or resources, but even if it’s just a positive interaction with another person there is a cost of some kind, be it time or effort. As with everything else in life, you get what you pay for.

I have spent most of my life yearning for something more. There has never been a time in my life where I’ve been content with where I am. When I look back on my life, I know that objectively I’ve had it pretty good. So many opportunities have come my way, and they could have been so much more than they were if I were willing to just do what it took to get the best out of them. A little bit of elbow grease and a positive attitude would have yielded a life many times more rich and vibrant than what I’ve come to now.

The problem is and always has been that I’m unwilling to put in the effort to achieve that kind of life. I know deep down that the ability to do great things is there, but the will and courage to do it simply aren’t. When I was growing up, I was told over and over that I could be anything I want, and while it may sound a bit arrogant, I know that for myself, at least, that was the truth. I’m no genius, but I have enough intellect to do most any job out there. The only thing holding me back is my own apathy.

It is the same problem in my personal life. My heart yearns for the same feeling of love as everyone else, but relationships are hard work and I never seem to get enough out of them for the effort to be worth it. It’s not because the people in my life aren’t worth having that effort put into them. I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing people become part of my life. The problem has always been me and my inability to focus on anything other than what I want. It is a selfish heart that keeps me down.

Despite this knowledge, I can’t seem to find the will to come back from this place that holds me back. An insidious laziness has taken hold of my soul, quashing any chance at something more than just a mediocre life that wastes me away until my body expires. I look into the future and there is just a huge, blank wall staring back at me. What is there to look forward to when all you can see is just an endless parade of the same day over and over? And then how do you break that cycle when you can’t stand what is required to escape it?

The core issue is that anything worth having is hard work, and I have always been averse to putting effort into things that don’t give me an immediate return on my investment. I was raised in the era of instant gratification, and that makes it very difficult for me to find the will to keep trying at things that don’t seem as if they’re going to pay off. I’m not a risk taker, and I likely never will be. You can’t find greatness if you never take any risks. Still, knowing this doesn’t change who I am.

It is nearly impossible to keep going when you have no hope for the future. A man wants to know that what he is doing matters and that his work and effort have meaning. One can only pointlessly plunge away at something for so long before he realizes his effort is simply going to waste. Some people can hold out for a long time; others give up after only a short while. They say persistent people are successful people. I’ve always struggled with persistence.

At any rate, I know there are so many people out there who are just like me; big dreams but no ambition. Part of it is our fault, but part of it is the environment we grew up in. Everything was handed to us growing up. There was no real effort required to get the things we want. As time moves forward, it only gets worse. The conveniences of life have softened us to the point that we simply don’t have the will to really go after anything anymore. We want it laid out at our feet.

Though the world doesn’t work that way, and I’m fully aware that it doesn’t, a lifetime of terrible habits and attitude isn’t something most people can just decide to change. Part of me waits for an opportunity that will captivate my imagination and convince me to summon the will to put my whole self into something I find worth doing. Unfortunately, the rest of me knows that it is only people who go out and find their own passion that live the kinds of lives we all yearn for.

I simply can’t take that leap of faith.

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