What Are You Willing to Pay?

Photo courtesy of Gerd Altmann / Pexels
Photo courtesy of Gerd Altmann / Pexels

Do you feel there is too much emphasis placed on high-performance athletes and high-priced entertainers?

I’ve often thought that society’s view of this was skewed, with so much money being paid to a select few. There certainly seem to be other causes and areas of life where that money could do more good while not making it so difficult for many to be able to enjoy such experiences because the price of concert or sporting event entry was just too expensive.

It doesn’t, however, stop people with the means to fork over the money and enjoy the show. My irritated view shifted recently when I watched the movie King Richard, based on the lives of two sister athletes (I shared details about the movie in last month’s article—for a different reason!).

“Most of the problems in life are because of two reasons: we act without thinking or we keep thinking without acting.” — Zig Ziglar

These two sisters worked faithfully, diligently and relentlessly to pursue their dreams. They put in the long hours and the sacrifices, all while keeping their eye on the target: becoming champion players. I have also watched many other behind-the-scenes stories of other “top achievers,” a variety of athletes, actors, performers and public figures. Other notables were people who’d achieved high honors, such as in the military, when they defeated enormous odds including ridicule, harassment and physical challenges such as those experienced by Carl Brashear’s character in the movie Men of Honor, based on the story of the first African American Naval Master Diver.

The common thread in each story is the commitment and dedication to get up every day and do what it takes to keep moving toward the target. Most people don’t want to get out of bed in the morning and go to work, let alone carve out time for a workout, meal planning or life planning. For some, going to work is a grand enough sacrifice of time away from family or other personal pursuits.

Sacrifice (verb): If we want something we’ve never had, we must be willing to do something we’ve never done. — Unknown

These life stories aren’t all about the achiever making top dollar—but many of them are. And we seem willing to pay our hard-earned money to witness their skills and hear their stories. Why? I’m inclined to believe that there’s a part of us that wants to escape our daily grind and simply be entertained in one form or another—being able to feel the emotions that touch us in a story or song, watching the underdog make a goal for the win, or watching someone climb the ladder at work. There are lots of opportunities in our everyday lives to see this in action without paying a hefty price for entertainment.

When you need help in life, pay attention to who makes it happen and who makes excuses.

I started seeing an underlying reason for shelling out the dough, and that is we are paying to be inspired. We want to be moved in some way that may help us change the course of our own lives toward the greater good. Deep inside, at some level we all want to live like “the other half lives.” In the long run, though, we aren’t really willing to do what it takes day after day to achieve a level of personal or professional greatness. We mostly want the rewards without all the effort. We want to be rewarded for mediocrity. That is not realistic. So instead, we are paying to watch the outcome of the efforts of these achievers. There will be a very small percentage of people who will actually use the inspiration they feel by stepping outside of their comfort zone and progressing toward a goal. Everyone else will get all excited for a short while and maybe even make an attempt at doing something different, but without an actual plan their efforts will get covered up by everyday life until the next time they pay good money to be a spectator rather than the one on stage.

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.

All the feel-goods aside, I still think we pay top performers way more money than many of them should make. I’m not talking about the self-made leaders who build a company and drive real results. I am referring to high-paid athletes and performers mostly. I can, however, see the effect and influence they have on others that drive up their value. They do make a difference in the lives of others, even if it’s to bring a happy escape from reality for a short while.

I always appreciate seeing other viewpoints and not staying rigid in my thinking. And on occasion I, too, am willing to pay a premium price for that!