Steve Pavlina:

Consider what happens if you always keep your options open, especially when it comes to your work, relationships, and personal growth. Keeping your options open means you don’t really commit and invest. This is fine if you want to play it safe, play the field, or explore for a while. There’s tremendous value in exploration. But at some point you’re likely to want to plant your flag and more deeply explore a meaningful commitment. Commitment-free exploration has its limits.

Have you run into such limits yet? Is keeping your options open starting to feel stale, boring, frustrating, unsatisfying, or just plain blah?

Do you honestly expect to wake up each morning feeling excited about a commitment to nothing in particular?

A spicier commitment could be a long-term relationship, a business or career path, a skill set, a core area of self-development, or really anything that you consider investment-worthy. What makes you want to shove all your chips into the pot and say, “I’m all in”? If nothing comes to mind, I’d say you have an inner stature problem, and that’s likely to hurt your social life as well.

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Steve Pavlina:

The attention-worthiness of any particular concern is relative to other items you could be choosing instead.

Will you watch TV or read a book? Will you go on a date or work on your Internet business? Will you get up early and exercise or sleep in late?

Whenever you give your attention to one concern, it means you’re withholding your attention from all other possible concerns. This entails a hidden cost of the potential value of the items you’ve declined to pursue.

If you had used your time differently during the past 5 years, you could have an extra million dollars in the bank. Another path might have led you to travel through dozens of different countries. And still another path might have you looking at a very fit and sculpted body in the mirror right now.

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Success Takes Time

Steve Pavlina on 5-year commitments:

People commonly overestimate how far they can get in a year, but grossly underestimate how far they can get in 5 years.

If you actually want results, make a 5-year commitment to a particular path, like building an online business, developing your social skills, becoming a world traveler, etc. A lesser commitment is largely pointless.

And on time horizons:

Think about what you can achieve between now and 2025 if you commit to it. You can lose any amount of weight and develop any kind of physique you want. You can start your own business and make it profitable. You can meet the mate of your dreams and start a family. You can relocate to anywhere in the world.


You have an enormous degree of control and power when you think with a time horizon of 5 years. Don’t let that potential go to waste. Set a course now and get moving.

Jeff Atwood has similar thoughts on success and time:

…success takes years. And when I say years, I really mean it! Not as some cliched regurgitation of “work smarter, not harder.” I’m talking actual calendar years. You know, of the 12 months, 365 days variety. You will literally have to spend multiple years of your life grinding away at this stuff, waking up every day and doing it over and over, practicing and gathering feedback each day to continually get better. It might be unpleasant at times and even downright un-fun occasionally, but it’s necessary.


Obviously we want to succeed. But on some level, success is irrelevant, because the process is inherently satisfying. Waking up every day and doing something you love — even better, surrounded by a community who loves it too — is its own reward. Despite being a metric ton of work.

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