Ahhh, modern life in America. So comfortable, so convenient, so easy. It’s ironic that the good life our ancestors created for us through their hard work and suffering has turned us into a nation of wimps.

As a society, we only seem to want what we can get without effort. Everybody gets a trophy.

I see this in guys who bail on their families as soon as the hard work of being a husband kicks in.

I see this in athletes who quit the team as soon as they realize they won’t be in the starting line-up.

I see this in business leaders who would rather just fire an employee than have a difficult conversation, or, God-forbid, hold someone accountable.

Where are the people who are willing to suffer for greatness? Answer; they are the most successful among us. The top athletes, the top artists, the top executives, the special forces.

One thing that seperates remarkable people from ordinary people is the willingness to suffer in order to achieve a goal.

Remarkable people understand that there is an inherent value in doing difficult things. Win or lose, succeed or fail, they know that the very act of giving a complete effort, of pushing harder than they thought possible, is literally priceless. It can’t be purchased, only won through effort.

In the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones”, House Greyjoy relies on pillage and plunder as economic drivers. They are basically a clan of Vikings, constantly at war with other nations. Their house sigil is the Kraken. Their motto is “We Do Not Sow.”

Balon Greyjoy, the Lord of the house, makes the distinction between paying the “gold-price”, which means to buy something with coin, and paying the “iron-price”, which means to take something through force.

While I don’t support the idea of taking from those who are weaker, I love this concept of earning versus buying. I propose this new definition for paying the iron-price: “Earning something through maximum effort.”

You pay the iron-price when you PR your marathon time. You pay the iron price when you pass the exam after 50 hours of study. You pay the iron-price when you react to your wife with love rather than anger when she is upset. You pay the iron-price when you wake up at 4:30 in the morning for an entire year to work on your novel.

The iron-price is superior to the gold-price. When you pay the iron-price, you get the strength, confidence, and wisdom that come from pushing yourself harder than you thought possible.

If you aren’t the man you want to be, chances are, you’ve been paying the gold-price.

What would your life look like if you started paying the iron-price? What would your marriage and your business look like if you started attacking your most important, most difficult challenges and goals?

I’ll tell you what it would look like. It would look remarkable. You would look like a leader. Your wife would be smitten with you. Your teenage kids would want to be like you. Other people you know would start doing what you do and would start coming to you for advice.

In order to make a habit of paying the iron-price, you’ve got to accept that you will suffer and that’s OK. It’s OK to be in pain. It’s OK to be tired. It’s OK to be scared.

“Pain can be endured and defeated only if it is embraced. Denied or feared, it grows.” ~Dean Koontz

Here are four things you can do to start paying the iron-price today.

1. Commit to fitness – You can’t be an effective leader for your family and your business if you’re out of shape. Stop dicking around and join a CrossFit Gym.

2. Do shit that scares you – Figure out what you have been avoiding and go do it.

3. Have difficult conversations – Go talk with the people who are important to you. Talk about the most important things. Have the conversations you’ve been scared to start.

4. Take risks – Write your screenplay, go back to school, sign up for a Tough Mudder. You have to start risking failure in order to have what you want the most.

Not everybody will do this. In fact, very few people embrace the way of the iron-price. Most people look for the easy way out. Most people avoid.

As a leader, it’s on you to show others how it is done. Your wife, your kids, your employees, your friends; they need to see somebody model this behavior. They want to be remarkable too, but they’re scared. It’s up to you to go first.

Take the lead,