There's this mantra floating around the business world: family, friends, fitness, work, or sleep--pick 3. 

I'm going to start by saying that I completely disagree with this philosophy. Having treated some of my endeavors with this sort of mentality, I can tell you first hand that at some point the cons far outweigh the pros (when I was 17 years old I became one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America--and for it I sacrificed all 5: family, friends, fitness, school, and sleep). 

I'm a firm believer that you need some sort of balance of all 5 in order to be truly "successful," and I use that word in all of its contexts: mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.

Why do you need all 5?

Success Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Known for this topic in particular, Arianna Huffington has gone to great lengths to start a discussion amongst the "driven achievers" of the world regarding the importance of sleep.

When I was competing as a teenager for the #1 spot in the country playing World of Warcraft, I was unhealthy. There were periods of time when I would go months on end without getting more than four hours of sleep a night. The result? Just about everything that could have gone wrong, did. I was borderline failing high school. I was taking so many "sick days" that I actually received a letter home saying that I was on the verge of having to repeat the grade. I was malnourished, hardly eating. I was an insomniac, barely sleeping--and even when I would fall into bed, I'd have trouble actually fading into a slumber because I was so obsessed over my goal. 

Now, did I reach it? That's a story for another time. But I can tell you I could have done it all in a much healthier way.

Remove the gaming example, and just about every industry suffers from this mentality of "sleeplessness."  I have friends in entertainment and they boast about their all-nighters, as if this will prove their work ethic. I read articles written by "entrepreneurs" claiming they only "allow themselves" 4-5 hours per night. I know what that feels like, and I can tell you that had I been doing any activity other than sitting in my computer chair like a zombie, I wouldn't have made it. 4-5 hours isn't realistic. In fact, it's nearly impossible.

I'm not saying don't go all-in on your goals. Do that. Just don't think that your sacrificing sleep is a proclamation to your work ethic is a sign of dedication. It's not. It's actually a sign of negligence to yourself, and at some point you're going to crash. Trust me.

The Combination Of All 5 Compounds Their Benefits

Building off the above, as much as would like to believe that our sleeplessness or our ability to abstain from relaxing activities is a sign of our dedication, we are also naive (or maybe ignorant) to think it does not hinder our performance. When you're well-rested, you are quicker. When you have time to detach and relax, you come back to your work energized. That's the truth.

At a certain point, sacrificing time with your family becomes a hindrance more than a benefit. Sacrificing sleep makes you less productive in the long run, not more. Sacrificing time with friends will leave you feeling empty or unfulfilled, making it more difficult to focus deeply on your work. Etc. 

But when you have some sort of balance of all 5--whether it's distributed evenly or not--their benefits begin to cross over. 

Creativity Happens In The Silence

The best ideas just "happen." They hit you in the shower. They are sparked by a conversation you're having at a dinner party. They land in your lap while you're driving to a hockey game. They come with ease--not by sitting at a desk racking your brain for hours and hours.

I place a lot of value and importance on the habit of daily disciplines. But I also know that those habits have their place and cannot rule every aspect of life. If your entire life is structured, you miss out on the serendipity that often time can lead to the very thing you are looking for in the first place. You need a blend between structure and non-structure, habit and spontaneity.  

If you are the type of person that only choose 3 of the 5--let's say Work, Friends, and Fitness, but in the process sacrifice Family and Sleep, then you are missing out on two crucial opportunities for creativity and chance. How many family gatherings have you been to that have sparked something in you? How many conversations around the dinner table have changed the way you thought about something? Or how about when you've woken up from a deep sleep with a newfound excitement for your work? 

The whole point of "the road to success" is not to achieve the end. The end in itself is immaterial. Once you get it, there will be a new end. Then a new end. And the cycle will go on and on.

The "road to success" is instead about creating a lifestyle, a rhythm and cadence to the life you wish you lead. And in order to achieve the maximum reward between both material and emotional "success," it is crucial that you not exclude one of the 5 pillars.

You need all 5.