The Dark Side of Greatness

 

Dark Side

We all can be masters at our craft but you have to make a choice. What I mean by that is there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that.  Family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend…”

-Kobe Bryant

 

 

Sacrifice

Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the best basketball players to ever walk the planet.  He accomplished so many things on the court. Five championship rings. Two scoring titles.  MVP of the league. The list goes on and on ad infinitum.  But what did Kobe have to sacrifice in order to master his craft and become legendary?  Kobe speaks about having to sacrifice family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend, son, etc.  While most of us will never reach Kobe’s level of fame and wealth, we should all strive to be masters at our craft.

Masters at Our Craft

To master our craft, sometimes we must choose to make similar sacrifices that Kobe chose to make.  If we become masters of our craft, certainly our career prospects will look brighter than ever before.  After putting in those long hours, we may expect to see a promotion or two as we climb the ladder of success.  Those promotions would definitely help us in our quest to achieve financial independence.  But we must be cognizant of the sacrifices we have to make in order to achieve greatness.  I recently read an article featured on Rockstarfinance.com titled Why Two Incomes Aren’t Always Better Than One.

Why Two Incomes Aren’t Always Better Than One

 

This article was a brilliant analysis of how a two income household isn’t always better than one.  According to the article, “In fields that highly compensate non-linearity (such as finance, law, and corporate professions), someone who works half-time is generally going to receive less than half-time pay, whereas someone who works double the normal hours has the potential to receive more than double the compensation.”  To resolve this issue, the article suggest one solution could be to let one spouse focus on their career and the other one stay at home.  The logic being that if one person works 80 hours, they could potentially make more in those highly compensated fields than if both spouses worked 40 hours a week.  This makes sense but what about what about the inherent sacrifices that come along with this decision?

An 80 Hour Work Week

If one parent works 80 hours a week, that leaves that parent with 88 hours left in free time.  Scratch that! This parent has to sleep.  Let’s say they get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per nightthat only leaves them with 32 hours of free time left during the week.  The daily free time available would equal 4.571 hours per day.  The opportunity cost of this spouse working 80 hours a week means less quality time spent with the non-working spouse.  I wonder how many couples get divorced over this.  Maybe some day someone will perform an economic analysis of it!  To my knowledge, no one has written an analysis of that yet but I have an anecdote I would like to share from the How I Built This podcast episode with Tariq Farid, founder of Edible Arrangements.

The Case of Tyriq Farid

Dark Side

The story of Tariq Farid is a fascinating tale of what happens when you do not take no for an answer.  In the episode, many people doubt his idea of selling fruit arrangements will be successful.  His dad was so worried that his idea would fail that he invited a professor over to tell him his idea had no chance of succeeding.  “If no one else does this, why do you think you will be successful” the professor asks.  Afterwards, he goes on to ask Tyriq if he has done a focus group.  Tyriq’s smart aleck response to that was, “I did do a focus group.  I brought it home and put it on the table and my mom said this is going to be big!  His mom turned out be right; there are 1300 edible arrangement franchises around the world now.  But what sacrifices Tyriq Farid have to make to pull off such a great feat?

Price Paid for Success

Before Tyriq Fard allowed outside investors to get involved, he did most of the work himself.  Just how hard did Tyriq work?  Guy Raz asks him, “You working just like a dog?”  “I think dogs even get a break.” was Tyriq’s response.  To achieve greatness, Tyriq had to sacrifice a lot of family time and his first marriage ended up in divorce.  He informs the audience that there was a very heavy price to be paid for his success.  As you may know, the busiest time for Edible Arrangements is around the holidays.  So when people were taking off, he was working harder.  In retrospect, Tyriq wishes that he spent more time with his children because they did not care if he was rich or poor.  They just wanted quality time with their father!

Is It Worth It?

 

If I knew then, what I know now all the pain that I would go through…that my family would go through. Was it really worth it?

-Kobe Bryant

Some personal finance bloggers may try to convince you that achieving financial independence is easy.  But I am here to tell you the honest to God’s truth.  Achieving financial independence can be an arduous task but I believe in the end it is well worth it.  Just try to spend more time with your family in the process.  In the end, all they care about is spending quality time with the one they love!  They could care less whether you or rich or poor.  Well, some of them…

 

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20 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Greatness

  1. I can definitely tell you that even though I earn 2x what my partner does, I have no interest in being the sole breadwinner! The stress that would come with a job that makes enough to support us comfortably on one income would not be worth it to me. Add to that the pressure of knowing our entire household relies on me… (which I’ve experienced before when he was out of work) – no thank you.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Productive worrying vs pointless spiralling: How I stop myself from freaking out about moneyMy Profile

  2. I balance this through my view of being moderately frugal (https://thephysicianphilosopher.com/2017/12/02/moderately-frugal-wealth-without-wellness/)

    You have to live a little! You cannot strive for financial independence and early retirement to the extent that negatively impacts your mental health. By “you cannot” I mean, you shouldn’t… it definitely CAN impact your mental health. I think that a focus on financial independence is good, because it helps you strive towards your goals. Early retirement can often be a negative motivator as it makes you notice more and more about your current job that you don’t like. All the while, though, we need to be making intentional decisions that make both the head and the heart happy, producing a moderately frugal life!

  3. Very sobering analysis. I saw what upper-level managers had to endure for their bread–10 hour days, travel 2-3 times a month, and unrelenting pressure to meet revenue targets. I wanted their money but had no stomach for the necessary sacrifice. Sometimes income inequality ain’t so bad. Great post.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Groovy! Wow, that sounds like a tough schedule to maintain. I thought traveling for work would be fun but most of my Uber passengers I pick up from the airport tell me it is very tiring.

  4. I think everyone should have their own definition of “greatness.” Mine thankfully does not align with Kobe’s values …

  5. Wish you would have chosen someone other than Kobe but I’ll let that slide for the time being haha. Great article man! So many people want to be successful because they think that will allow them to live the life they want. The honest answer is that most people would get more fulfillment out of having more free time for family and friends.

    What are you sacrificing for and what are you sacrificing for it?
    Brandon recently posted…Stop 5: Where Is My Money Going?My Profile

    1. Lol. Thanks for letting it slide for the time being. I am a huge Kobe fan but I understand not everyone likes him.
      “What are you sacrificing for and what are you sacrificing for it?” That is the million dollar question worth pondering!

  6. What if you wanted to achieve greatness in being a father? Or mother? Or spouse? Or daughter? Or son?

    What sacrifices would that require? Less time spent earning money? Giving up all unhealthy habits? Less “me time”? Fewer close friend? Less time reading FI blogs and checking markets and spreadsheets?

  7. To be truly great at one thing, other areas of your life will suffer. There is only so much time and energy to go around. It is common to hear about people who are at the summit in their professional life but fall short in their personal life. You used Kobi Bryant as an example, but this post made me think of Steve Jobs. He founded a company that changed the world but was a poor father.

  8. Kobe Bryant is one of my favorite role models ever, in the sense of dedication towards your craft aka “Mamba Mentality.” It’s this type of mentality that will push you past limits that the majority just aren’t willing to go. Throughout the process you will be judged constantly and told that what you are doing is wrong and that you won’t make it…

    The funny thing though is that those who are judging you are usually the ones who are to afraid to go to the limits that you yourself aren’t scared of going to. What those people fear is the separation between you and them, and they fear that you will end up better than them.

    This relates to achieving financial independence so much because anyone who has ever obtained significant wealth on their own can attest to that it is a grind that most people aren’t willing to do. To obtain financial independence you need to dedicate most of your TIME towards it, and your friends/family will never understand it unless they share the same mentality. It will always come down to how much you’re willing to sacrifice.

    Great post!

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