There will be many times in life when you can either have a good reward now, but forego a great one later, or you can deprive yourself of today’s joy, in favor of something much better tomorrow. It’s a tale as old as time. The squirrel who hoards nuts for winter rather than eating them today will survive to see the next year. The one who works when everyone else is playing will build a life full of play that the others—who didn’t work as hard—could only dream of.
It’s not always about work, of course. Sometimes in life, we just must endure less-than-desirable circumstances for a while, to make room and save space for greater circumstances later. But fleeting, easy, surface-level options will come our way. They’ll tempt us. They’ll come around and say, “Pssst. I see you there, struggling. I have what you need. I can ease your pain…” But, it’s not a permanent fix, and can actually rob us of a greater, more sustainable option, later.
If you ask anyone you admire—anyone who has what you want, say, professionally, socially, or romantically—about their story of how they got what they have, you’ll probably notice a common theme. You’ll probably hear of a time when something easier came along earlier—something that seemed good enough—that they passed up on. Life tests us that way. That’s how life separates those who really deserve something, from those who, well, don’t. The best things are worth waiting for and working for. So, when something seems too easy or too good to be true, it’s probably because, by going for it, you’ll kiss something greater goodbye. Here are important times we should think of the greater, long-term results over the immediate, short-term desires. It’s always worth it.
The low-paying job you love
Starting from the bottom is never fun, but just about everybody has to do it (except those who have everything handed to them through nepotism, but that has its own consequences). If you have a career dream, you’ll find that chasing it usually means doing work that you at first don’t find exciting, rewarding, or lucrative. You’ll be an intern or an assistant or a coffee runner. But, it’s a step in the right direction. And if you want to go in that direction, you have to pay your dues.