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Paying the Price by Dave LaRue

As I've shared with you recently, I've had the honor of making an amazing new friend: Diana Nightingale, Earl Nightingale's business partner and widow. It's reignited my passion for their concepts for improving your life. I've been listening back to them all. We will soon be putting a complete listing and availability on our Comma Club website. What I would really love you to do is take 20 minutes to listen to Earl's famous talk about "The Strangest Secret."

This year I have looked back and written with gratitude about the people who made a difference in my life. I wrote about Earl recently in this light. I first started listening to Earl when I was 17 years old—46 years ago! It's been wonderful to hear Earl's voice again and get back in touch with my roots. I now know that Earl's stories made even more of an impression than I'd realized. It only makes sense: I listened to them hundreds of times, mulling over his lessons until I really understood and could do something with them.

Each person's potential to make a difference in the lives we touch is a fascination and value of mine. I'm so glad to gain this new appreciation for Earl's influence on my life and to imagine that impact magnified by the millions of people he touched.

Earl Nightingale's "The Strangest Secret" changed the course of my life and has been a particular secret ingredient of my success. Earl wrote and recorded it in 1956, the year I was born. It sold more than a million copies that first year alone. We plan to make it available on the Comma Club website soon. Because Earl taught that people don't value what they don't pay for, there will be a small cost for it. Which brings me to my theme: Paying the Price.

It's a fact, from physics to finance, that nothing is free. There is a price to pay for everything. It costs to improve incrementally. There's a fee for getting to the next level. There is a price to pay to live the life you have always wanted to live: There are struggles and challenges to overcome, there are times when you feel you can't go on, times when you just want to throw in the towel and hide in your safe place. You pay The Price by persevering through these moments, gathering and burning the energy and knowledge and focus to do the work required to achieve your goals.

The Price comes in the burst of speed required to separate yourself from the pack. In the energy needed to sustain yourself as you work at things with no immediate reward. Apart from moments of crisis and heavy exertion is maintaining discipline in the daily work of learning and doing what needs to be done to advance toward your goals across time. These are examples of The Price you pay with effort. There are also costs you can only pay by letting go.

The initial cost of improving is making room for new possibilities. That means letting go of attachment to how things are, including what works but could be better, and what you're comfortable and familiar with. As long as I can remember, I was a seeker, yearning for a different and better way to live. For me, one blessing of a fairly unpleasant childhood was that, once I saw something better out there, I wasn't letting go of freedom and comfort and certainty. In fact, I was moving closer to it the more I made changes and advanced toward my goals. To have a different, better life, I would have to let go. I would have to think and act differently. I was gladly open to making these changes.

Changing involves another letting-go cost: letting go of your ego. If you have real deficits, you will need to let go of the idea that you know everything and have all the skills you will ever need. When I was young and beginning my journey, I needed many things I didn't have. I was able to look this square in the eye, identify my limitations, and work hard to cultivate all the attributes I was missing.

Beyond the casual sense of "letting go of your ego," i.e., the boastful part of yourself that wants to feel special and important, I also mean letting go of your idea of yourself as you define it today. When we change, we challenge this sense of who we are.

The unwatchable part of our minds works hard to keep this sense of identity together. When our identity is challenged—like when we attempt or experience change—we instinctually feel uncomfortable. We automatically fight against and avoid what causes these feelings. This response will sabotage change every time.

This is why clarity about what is essential is so vital when it comes to self-improvement. At a given time, you may define yourself by your marriage and relationships, your job, and so on. Sometimes you will want to—or have to—move on without these things. Knowing your core values and beliefs allows you to stay grounded as you make changes—and adapt to external changes—without engaging this self-resistance.

I have seen so many people achieve success because they understand The Price and the need to pay it. I have seen many more people stop short, sometimes right off the starting line, because they were unwilling to pay it, or think it is a bad sign: "Am I doing it wrong? If it was right, wouldn't it be easy?" This thinking, of course, is your ego being tricky to keep you from changing.

Earl Nightingale's definition of success is "a progressive realization of a worthy ideal (or goal)." When I think of the successes in my life, I think of the wealth of wonderful relationships, the opportunities I have to touch the lives of others and make a difference, the spiritual, professional and financial wealth I enjoy. I value these all the more knowing the journey it's been, knowing the specific Price I paid.

As many of you know, the better you understand yourself, and the more you make habits out of paying The Price, the easier it gets. For me, the more chances I get to play in my genius, the more I want to play, and the easier it is to pay the price to do so. And the easier it becomes to do the work to continue to create the life I want and the success I desire.

So here's my encouraging you to get into it if you haven't started, and get fired up again if you've slowed down on the path. I love to know you're doing the work each day to create the unbelievable life you really want. Let me know how I can help. And share this with someone you know needs to hear this thinking. It's a simple way to make a difference in the lives you touch.

Loving making a difference,



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