The Dirty Word: Sacrifice


Lately, I’ve noticed a common misconception arising in the work that I do with men, specifically divorced fathers. That is the notion that sacrifice is bad and should be avoided at all costs.

The word sacrifice is defined as…

Sacrifice (verb): to suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief, or end

Sacrifice has taken on this negative connotation in modern-day society. It seems that everywhere we look, we see and hear the same message about getting and having everything that we want and getting it now!

Take slogans such as…

“Have it your way” — Burger King

“Easy, breezy, beautiful…” — CoverGirl

“Obey your thirst” — Sprite

As human beings, we have the unique ability to conceptualize our future. It is something that has benefited us and our evolution to the point that by doing so, we have raised our quality of life to a level previous generations would have never dreamed.

For instance, as Bill Gates points out in his GatesNotes:

You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century — and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.

You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929 — when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today — 20,000 people died on the job.

The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment.

Some may not agree with these assertions by saying, “Have you listened to the news lately?” However, in his book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Harvard professor and cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker proves Gates’s observations and demonstrates through data and 75 mind-boggling charts that “life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide.” I highly recommend the book. It is inspiring and a much better alternative to watching the daily news!

But why has humanity come so far? I believe that there are two reasons.

1. Each generation imagines a future that is better than the past. It is this continuous imagination that drives us to strive toward our goals. We believe in creating a better life!

2. Each and every generation has personally sacrificed a tremendous amount in aiming to achieve this future.

Believe In A Better Life

There is a growing psychological understanding that states our personality is not innate and immutable. That it can be molded by the choices we make to act out our imagined personality or life instead of simply believing that we are stuck with our past. Therefore, we can make the changes we wish to see in our lives by simply acting in a manner conducive to that end.

For instance…

Once upon a time, the notion that we could travel to and walk on the moon was an exercise in mental folly. Now more than fifty years since we achieved this mind-blowing feat individuals such as Elon Musk believe that he will spend the end of his life on the planet Mars.

In his book Personality Isn’t Permanent: Break Free from Self-Limiting Beliefs and Rewrite Your Story, organizational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Hardy states, “When you decide who you’ll be and the life you’ll live, then you can have anything you truly want. You don’t have to be limited by what other people say you can have or achieve. If you want to be more confident and creative, or more extroverted and organized, you can become any or all of those things. If you’re timid but want to become a powerful, bold, and inspirational leader, you can become that as well.”

Sacrifice As A Way To A Better Life

Believing in a better life is just the start of realizing that extraordinary life. Because as we know, simply having faith or the belief that something is going to happen does not mean that it will. There needs to be action! That’s where that dirty word, SACRIFICE, comes in.

I love the cartoon above as it is the perfect depiction of what will happen if we sacrifice something in the present moment and believe in our reward for that sacrifice in the future. Just as previous generations sacrificed their lives in battle to attain our current freedoms or our ancestors risked their life and limb to travel to this country to embrace that life, they all held true to the faith that their sacrifice would result in a life increasingly better than the one they had known.

There’s the common veneration (not just by the religious) of faith, namely believing something without a good reason.” -Steven Pinker Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

But you ask, “How can I achieve the life that I envision?” I hear from many men who are overwhelmed and disheartened at the prospect of this challenge. Especially fathers during or after divorce.

They share things like,

“That 50 pounds that I need to lose is way too much for me to overcome,” or

“I am just not qualified for the high paying job that I really want,” or

“That beautiful woman would never give me the time of day.”


Make it Small but Make it Achievable

Here are some examples:

BELIEF — I will have a healthy and fit body

SACRIFICE — Remove all junk food from your home

BELIEF — I will start my own business

SACRIFICE — Turn off the TV and read an article about business start-ups

BELIEF — I will have a great romantic relationship

SACRIFICE — Schedule 10 minutes to talk with your partner

Make the sacrifice a common practice or standard of your environment by repeating it. Day in and day out, week after week, month after month. It becomes your way of life. Then add a new sacrifice. Repeat. Very soon these sacrifices are no longer sacrifices but instead the driving force behind the realization of the extraordinary life that you have envisioned.

I know that you can do this because I have done it and I have witnessed other men do it! You have everything within you to accomplish great and amazing things. Through this quick and simple process, I look forward to seeing your tremendous results. Please connect with me and share your remarkable stories.

We can adjust our behavior in the present, in order to maximize our probability of success in the future.” — Jordan Peterson

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Jude is an Integrative Wellness & Life Transformation Coach and Integrative NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner who uses cutting-edge approaches to integrative coaching to help fathers sort through their lives during and after divorce and create an amazing life for themselves and their children.

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