Estimated Lesson Time: 5 minutes
I often hear statements being made such as, “To be successful, you have to sacrifice your personal life,” or “Successful people are only successful because they missed out on life’s pleasures while striving for success,” or even “Those with full pockets have empty souls.” In fact, the fear of sacrifice is one of the leading causes of fear of success. It is not difficult to understand why these statements are so universally accepted: they make it easy to justify one’s own lack of success. While there are those who have made poor sacrifices to get where they are, the majority of those who have achieved success have done so by making positive sacrifices that were not difficult to make. These are the sacrifices that lead to success.
Sacrifice is about giving up something of value for something else of higher perceived value. This plays an important role in success because success is about the long-term and not about giving in to instant gratification. In our pursuit of success, we often must take a step back in order to take a giant leap forward. This backward step is often known as sacrifice. The key to embracing sacrifice is taking value from that which you are sacrificing and adding value to that for which you are making the sacrifice. To illustrate, several years ago I used to drink on average two liters of diet soda a day. I knew that water was a healthier choice, and I decided to sacrifice my enjoyment of drinking diet soda for my overall health. While I cannot say this sacrifice was easy, it was one of the easier sacrifices I have made because I had taken the time to research the detrimental effects of diet soda, as well as the health benefits of drinking water. This research helped me to devalue the diet soda and place more value on water. It only took me about a week to learn to enjoy water more than diet soda; then, diet soda was no longer a sacrifice since it no longer had any value to me.
Here are a few positive sacrifices you can make along with some tips on how to embrace the sacrifice.
- Sacrifice about one hour of leisure time per day for the study of personal development. By now, you should be well aware of the importance of personal development; it is the sacrificing of the leisure time that may present the challenge. Study in a way that is enjoyable, relaxing and/or exciting to you in order to add more value to your personal development process.
- Sacrifice buying too many luxuries and invest your money instead. Luxuries are great to have especially as rewards for achievement. However, hold off on buying luxuries for as long as you can. There is no black and white rule for when to buy luxuries; it is about achieving balance.
- Sacrifice higher-paying jobs for pursuing your dream. Don’t be tempted to waste your most valuable asset—your time—working for money. Make the sacrifice and do work you enjoy doing that brings you closer to your goals, even though the pay may be less.
- Sacrifice 10% of your income or 10% of your time for the feeling of helping others. No matter how selfless you try to be, helping others always ends up benefiting you in some way. Welcome these benefits and accept them as you would accept gratitude.
Along with the positive sacrifices come the not-so-positive sacrifices, or poor sacrifices. These are sacrifices that we shouldn’t make because they will do more damage to our success and/or happiness than good.
- Avoid sacrificing quality time with loved ones. If your work requires you to spend time away from home, pick up the phone and call your loved ones. Try to avoid mentally spending time at work while physically spending time with your loved ones. One hour of quality time per day is better than a full day of neglect.
- Never sacrifice your health. If you are on the road, spend a few extra bucks eating a good meal rather than choosing fast food. Lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse not to take care of your body. A 10-minute workout routine that can be done in any room without weights or equipment is better than nothing.
- Never, ever, sacrifice your integrity. In your pursuit of success, you will frequently have opportunities to take shortcuts that will go against your ethics, morals and/or values. Do not give in to this temptation. Taking these shortcuts go against everything success is about and lead to guilt and regret. Remember, when it comes to success, there are no shortcuts.
No success story is complete without sacrifice. However, contrary to popular belief, the sacrifices one needs to make to achieve success do not have to be that difficult and they certainly do not have to take away from one’s character. Let’s consider the words of Sidney Howard, who wrote, “One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)