What's worth more? A paycheck, the piece of mind that comes with a comfortable, guaranteed salary, and an education or fulfillment, having pride in what you do and the satisfaction that comes with a sense of added meaning to life? It's always hard to strike a balance between what we want to do and what we need to do.
Everyone has responsibilities, and fulfilling those responsibilities is seldom easy. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Doing what needs to be done, the routine processes in life for example (education, work) can wear people down. It can make people feel out of place. Fulfilling responsibilities can sometimes even be demeaning for a person.
Such was the case for one famous billionaire, Mark Cuban, during his younger days straight out of college. When Cuban was in high school, he pushed himself toward greatness, always working, in school and outside of it, to the point that he was able to skip his senior year and go straight into college in search of business degree. Go figure.
Naturally, when Cuban got his first job at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, he began to do what he'd always done: overachieve.
"I wanted to be more entrepreneurial," Cuban told Forbes recently. "I took the initiative. I used to send notes to the CEO of the bank. I once cut out a magazine story about how corporations could save money by withholding Social Security and sent it to him. He sent me a thank-you letter back. I started something called the 'Rookie Club.' I’d invite senior executives to a happy hour to talk to a group of younger employees in their 20s like me."
Cuban's sense of ambition could be seen as something worthy of praise. He definitely thought so, and felt that his boss would think the same. He was in for a rude awakening.
"Instead, my boss called me into his office one day and ripped me a new one," he said. " 'Who the f— do you think you are?' he yelled... He told me I was never to go over him or around him, or he’d crush me. I knew then it was time to get out of there."
Of course, not all people can leave their jobs because they're unhappy. Not all people can afford to give up a steady paycheck after having one run in with a boss. But Mark Cuban does nonetheless provide an example of when sacrifice becomes too much.
His choices were either to suppress his immense talents and subdue his actions to satisfy the demands and (perhaps) the ego of his boss, or to quit and go through the, presumably, lengthy process to success fueled by the belief that his skills could be put to better use elsewhere.
He chose the latter of the two options and his decision may just be a lesson to any individual that feels like his or her potential is being hampered by the constraints of any job, location, major, etc.
When the check you're getting doesn't equal the amount that you sacrifice in yourself, you may just need to consider Mark Cuban's path.
What's worth more?
Photo via Golden State Warriors