There's a reality in life when you try to succeed....regardless of what you are striving for. I'll call it "The Suffer" and I won't label it as good or bad. It just is. Note, it's not Gladwell's 10,000 hours when I talk about The Suffer, although the two are related. I'm referring more to the little things that you never talk about in hindsight. For example, most interviews never actually delve into the underbelly of success when it comes to The Suffer and most people, when asked how they did it, tend to focus on soundbites and the sparkle.
I wish more people would talk about The Suffer openly instead of sensationalizing everything. Yet, I do realize that most people don't want to hear the truth. It's dirty. It's painful at times. Ethics? Well yeah, they lack. Feelings? They get hurt. I could go on. This is the juicy stuff that gossip rags are made of. Yet, I don't think of it as "the Gossip". It's more like the "necessary evil" you have to have when it comes to grand success.
You can't easily generalize the Suffer. For some, it surrounds family. They spend so much time pursuing their dreams that family life suffers. Marriages crumble. Kids rebel. Family ties are lost. For others, it's drugs and alcohol, which are a part of the path. Don't get me started on how many business connections are made over alcohol and drugs. Sex? Yup, all over the path to success in certain industries. It's not necessarily the "sleeping your way up" sex. It's the "underlying urge for sex" as a driver of The Suffer.
Athletes have their steroids and other types of cheating. Bankers have their insider trading. VC's have their "Old Boys" networks and back-room deals. Founders have their employment policies and crappy wages. Managers have their politics and hierarchies. Politicians......well, they're just generally screwed. Each and every industry is affected at some level by The Suffer. Just no one openly talks about it or freely admits it.
What separates the Greats from the Has-beens is how they deal with The Suffer. You can give up early and simply become a never-has-been. You won't avoid it though regardless of what path you take and overcoming it doesn't necessarily mean winning. You may be wildly successful yet you'll always know what you had to do to get there. Many people drown this in alcohol and drugs. Others drown this in endless training for marathons or triathlons. Some keep getting remarried. Everyone not surprisingly has their "out" once they get there, wherever "there" is.
I wish I had a rosy conclusion to this post recommending how to deal with the Suffer. I don't! It's not sunshine, feel-good stuff and we all choose our own remedies. Mine is friends and sports. Nothing has helped me more along my path than friends to get feedback from and a kick in the ass when I screwed up. It wasn't always necessarily close friends but people who were honest and direct, those unafraid to tell the truth. Gyms, weights and long-ass bike rides have kept me from exploding at times. Nothing helps me unwind and de-stress more than throwing some weights around or seeing how much I can push my body on a bike ride. I come out at the tail-end sane.
Luckily for me drugs nor alcohol were ever the solution. This is the remedy I'd recommend staying the farthest away from. Indulgent spending on material things also doesn't get you too far. Screwing around gets old fast. Yet, nobody can really tell you how to deal with The Suffer. It's all in your head and you have to get to terms with it there.