The Lost Virtue of Sacrifice

April 15th, 2010

I am about to say something that I have not read in any self-help blog/book .  And it’s this:

Sometimes, you have to sacrifice what you want.

Sacrifice your short-term desires for long-term goals.  I read tons of personal development blogs that basically tell people not to worry about the consequences of their actions.  Go on, they say:

Quit your job TODAY if you’re miserable.  Don’t work for the MAN one more second.  You can make tons of money on the internet/real estate investment/or any other thing that sound effortless and easy.

And for those who stay in less-than-ideal situations, they’ll berate them for not going for what they want.

Sounds great in theory.

But tell it to someone who has a kid to feed that he should give up his job making decent money to pursue a dream where the risks outweigh the rewards.  Because those actions have consequences not just for him but for his family.

I think the notion of sacrifice as a virtue is disappeared somewhere along the road.  Heck, on April 15th you’ll see a ton of people protesting about paying taxes and then at the same time demand that the government fix their roads, help with their retirement, etc. (ever wonder where the government gets the money to do that?).

And I also thing people who sacrifice their desires are looked down upon.

But I look up to those who sacrificed for others.

I think the notion of “self-help” can quickly turn into “selfishness”.

But what about sacrifice?  Can sacrifice solve many of the problems most self-help books supposedly solve?  Let’s see:

Weight loss: give up the foods you love for the long-term goal of losing weight

Productivity: Spend less time doing the things you purely enjoy (watching TV, playing video games, etc.) and spend that time doing things that have to get done.

Debt: Don’t buy things you don’t need.

Sounds too simple.  I know.  But the BS gurus shtick is that you can have EVERYTHING you want without sacrificing anything.  You can have the big house only working 4 hours a week.  You can lose weight without giving up ANYTHING.

And people buy into that.  Because giving up things you like sucks.  At the risk of being called a “negative thinker” or “dream stealer,” that’s crap.

Life is about give and take.  Don’t expect to take everything without giving.  You have to give if you want to get.

And sorry, teaching people “The Secret” doesn’t count as giving.

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