You Have to Give Up to Grow Up: The Law of Trade-Offs

Life has many opportunities that might take us up or down. Achieving personal growth is highly connected to our choices when we face them; what we can add to our lives, what we can subtract from them and what we can exchange when we have those opportunities. This is what John C. Maxwell explained in his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,under the Law of Trade-offs.

Unsuccessful people make bad trade-offs.

Average people make few trade-offs.

Successful people make good trade-offs.

The law of trade-offs states that “if you want to grow up to your potential, you must be willing to give up some things you value”. Are we going to make these trade-offs at a certain age? Are all trade-offs worth the price? And are they easy to make? These are some of the questions that Maxwell raised under this discussion.

This post will summarize the Law of Trade-offs which is the law number 11 in the book. The rest of the laws were summarized as the following:

  1. The Law of Intentionality;
  2. The Law of Awareness;
  3. The Law of Mirror;
  4. The Law of Reflection;
  5. The Law of Consistency;
  6. The Law of Environment;
  7. The law of Design;
  8. The law of Pain;
  9. The law of Ladder; 
  10. The law of Rubber Band.

The Truth about Trade-offs

Maxwell shared some of his observations in this area as the following.

  • Trade-offs are available to us throughout life
  • We must learn to see trade-offs as opportunities for growth
  • Trade-offs force us to make difficult personal changes
  • The loss of a trade-off is usually felt long before the gain
  • Most trade-offs can be made at any time
  • A few trade-offs come only once
  • The higher you climb, the tougher the trade-offs
  • Trade-offs never leave us the same
  • Some trade-offs are never worth the price: these kinds of trade-offs only lead to regret. And they are difficult to recover from.
  • Trade-offs worth making

 Applying the Law of Trade-offs in Our Life

In order to apply the law of trade-offs in our life, Maxwell suggested three actions as the following:

  1. Identify your personal list of trade-off principles: We may use the same trade-offs that Maxwell had to go through them in his life such as:
  • I am willing to give up financial security today for potential tomorrow
  • I am willing to give up immediate gratification for personal growth
  • I am willing to give up the fast life for the good life
  • I am willing to give up security for significance
  • I am willing to give up addition for multiplication

2.  Identify your non-negotiable stuff in your life. Those that you are not going t trade-off any price and identify what safety measures you need in order to protect them.

3. Identify the trade-offs that you can make right now but you are still not willing to make and identify what you need to give up in order to get them. “The difference between where we are and where we want to be is created by the changes we are willing to make in our lives”.

Final Thoughts

  • “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, my friend, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending”– Carl Bard.
  • “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it”-Henry David Thoreau
  • “There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going” – Beverly Sills.

4 thoughts on “You Have to Give Up to Grow Up: The Law of Trade-Offs

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