A majority of people don’t exercise before work. A majority of people in the Western world also don’t optionally take cold showers. I was talking with a friend recently who is very successful, very ambitious and does both of those things. He also frequently abstains from alcohol and will put in more office hours than his colleagues.
We were talking openly about sacrifice and he asked me: “Are we getting it right?”
I exercise five/six times a week, eat a low carb, vegan diet and find it hard to spontaneously go out or part-ay because I need my weekends to support my side-projects. I don’t watch TV, turn down all Sunday social plans, and won’t take holidays longer than 3days… Sometimes I’ve wondered the same.
The reality is that we’re blessed to live in a place where most of your basic needs are fulfilled, without you having to work excessively hard. It’s therefore sometimes easy to look sideways at more easily satisfied peers and feel like the extra input doesn’t quite equate to the output, and perhaps it would be better to be content with a slightly simpler life. One which includes lie-ins and Netflix binges and a lot more red wine.
For me though, I have the benefit of experience. I’ve been that carefree girl. Excessively social, trying to make it to the gym twice a week but mainly just enjoying myself. Eating more or less what I fancied with no task which couldn’t wait ‘til “next week”.
As you may have guessed this didn’t lead to happiness. Instead it led to frustration and disappointment. Whilst I enjoyed many of the nights, the days that followed were full of physical pain and emotional anxiety. I felt like I had more in me. I had dreams, goals, ambitions and despite having no real strategy to execute them, they wouldn’t leave me to be hungover in peace.
Maybe I’m wrong but I believe most people have these thoughts. The feeling that there is more within them. That they were made for something slightly different.
This is where it is important to look at sacrifice in the context of your choices. You will face pain, disappointment, failure, all the difficult stuff in life, no matter who you are or what you do. What you do have power over though, is in some of the sacrifices you choose to make.
Going back to my friend, he chose to keep his fitness up and by doing so reduces his risk of certain illnesses and debilitating conditions. In this way, you’re paying for your sacrifice upfront.
Charlamagne Tha God, a very successful American radio presenter says the following in his book ‘Black Privilege’ *strongly recommend*:
“In order to change your life for the better, first you have to change your lifestyle. Which can’t happen unless you change the people around you.”
Having grown up in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, an underprivileged area, Charlamagne started selling drugs and was arrested twice for possession with intent to supply. That could have been his life story but it was books that showed Charlamagne a different life. A life he wanted to attain.
What he had to sacrifice to get that was friendships and familiarity. That’s a huge sacrifice and takes tremendous courage but he knew if he didn’t do that, he would never grow beyond his starting point.
In order to get to where you want in life and expose the person you believe to be within, you’re going to have to make many, many, sacrifices. But there is something so peaceful about being on the right path, that makes it 100% worth it.