Every successful person has paid the price of success, in one way or the other. Achieving any goal or making notable progress in life requires a sacrifice. And while many acknowledge this to be true, it’s always easier said than done.
The idea of making a sacrifice focuses on giving up something valuable in the present with the hope of achieving something even better in the future. Most people and businesses make sacrifices, but only after they get the results that they evaluate whether the sacrifice was worth it.
So, what are some of the sacrifices that people make in the hope of becoming successful in life? It all comes down to the valuable things in life such as sleep, personal time, work-life balance, family time, health, freedom, comfort, fun, social life, etc.
From the list above, it’s evident that not many people are willing to let go of most of these things, but only a few will in pursuit of what they value the most.
Are You Willing to Sacrifice for Success?
James Clear, the best-selling author of Atomic Habits once asked a coach who had worked with thousands of athletes over his career this simple question:
“What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else? What do the really successful people do that most don’t?”
At first, the coach said something you might expect – genetics, luck, talent, etc. But then he went on to tell James Clear something unexpected. He said…
“At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over.”
That’s right, success requires long-term and consistent effort to repeat the same thing over and over again.
Think about Kobe Bryant and his training schedule. He did the same training routine every day, for years. And that’s how he became one of the best basketball players in the world.
You must be willing to sacrifice leisure to do the necessary work in order to achieve the success you desire. Just like what Muhammad Ali said:
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”Muhammad Ali
Sacrificing for Success is About Delaying Gratification
You are always presented with choices in life, at every moment.
For instance, you can choose to read this article, or you can choose to check updates on Instagram. And to achieve the success you want, you must choose the right choice. For example:
- You can choose to work on your blog right now or you can choose to watch TV.
- You can choose to exercise or choose to eat the junk food.
- You can choose to work on your goals or choose to play games on your phone.
So you see, it is about making the right choice and delaying gratification. You sacrifice instant gratification to feel good right now, and work on things that may be difficult so that you get to produce results that you want in the future.
Once, there was a famous study conducted by Walter Mischel, a professor from Stanford University, called the Marshmallow Experiment.
Mischel and his team discovered that children who delayed gratification in his experiment, where they chose to eat 2 marshmallows 15 minutes later than those who chose to eat 1 marshmallow immediately, tend to do better in life.
According to Mischel, the children who delayed gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up getting higher SAT scores, have better social skills, and are able to cope better with stress according to their parents.
In general, the children who resisted the temptation and delayed their gratification did better in most areas of their lives.
The Success and Sacrifice Dilemma
For many people, sacrificing fun time, sleep, comfort, and other things in the short term for a greater and more fulfilling experience in the future is definitely worth it.
Entrepreneurs, for instance, spend a lot of time working on their business ideas. They sacrifice their time, social life, and even work-life balance to see their enterprises succeed.
That said, sacrifices don’t stop here. Some people go the extra mile to sacrifice their lavish lifestyle and others their health and a steady paycheck to attain a higher level of success.
However, not all the sacrifices are worth it. There are always some risks involved. People who quit going to the gym or neglect their healthy eating habits to pursue their goals may soon find that their priorities were misplaced.
Other sacrifices need a delicate balance to avoid going to extremes.
An example is a work-life balance, family time, personal time, and sleep. Being successful in your career or business often takes a lot of focused time. And while this may eat into your personal, family, and sleep schedule, you should still prioritize what makes life meaningful.
A rule of thumb is to allocate most of your time to your current goals while also making room for critical day-to-day activities.
With proper balance, sacrificing for a better future doesn’t have to come with negative consequences. So you always want to be deliberate and intentional with what you want and what you are willing to let go of to achieve it.
Turning Your Sacrifices Into Success
The fact that you are sacrificing something of value today doesn’t always mean that it will work out in the future. Depending on how you define success, what you will be willing to sacrifice varies.
For example, if quitting your 9-5 job and starting your own business is a goal worth pursuing, you should first highlight your reasons or motivation for pursuing that goal.
Here, the motivation may be to have more freedom, flexibility, make more money or have more time with family.
To make sure you are making the right sacrifices, you should rank your reasons for pursuing the goal in order of priorities. Your sacrifices should then work to support your priorities and not undermine them.
For instance, if you want to spend more time with family, you won’t help the situation if you end up working 18 hours a day for ten years just to build a successful business that will give you the much-needed freedom and flexibility.
In other words, weigh the impact of every decision or sacrifice you make on the short-term and long-term objectives. If it’s not a win-win, then you should consider pursuing a different goal or sacrificing something else that won’t hurt what you strongly believe in.
A relatable example in the business world is when organizations focus on minimizing spend to boost profits by canceling premium services for cheap or free options, underpaying employees, or delaying payments to creditors.
These tactics may work in the short term, but they carry significant risks, which may outweigh the goal of making those sacrifices in the first place.
Similarly, most companies sacrifice personal data privacy by skipping software upgrades or downgrading to free cybersecurity solutions or compliance software to save that extra cash. The ramifications of these decisions are increased cybersecurity risks such as ransomware and phishing attacks, which could lead to data loss, reputational damage, etc.
If you are to succeed in your professional, business, or personal life, you’ll need to make some hard choices. The idea of sacrificing your time, social life, fun, comfort, and even expensive taste in the present for a more rewarding future sounds great, but the devil is in the details.
Not every sacrifice is worth it in the long run, and you never know what the future holds until you live in it.
However, we know that the proper sacrifice aligned to the motivation behind the expected success is more sustainable. So what’s your definition of success, and how far can you go as far as making a sacrifice is concerned?