Sacrifices Come Before Success

Sacrifices Come Before Success

We all want success in our careers, relationships, hobbies, or passions. However, achieving actual, lasting success requires making sacrifices along the way. This article explores sacrifice’s fundamental role in accomplishing our goals and realizing our dreams. Through historical and contemporary examples, insights from psychology, and tangible tips, we will unpack the power of sacrifice to pave the path to success.

The Journey of Personal Growth

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely to please.” The father of the Indian nation demonstrated throughout his life how standing firmly for one’s convictions, even in the face of solid adversity, can become the foundation for seismic success. His hunger strikes and other personal sacrifices motivated a nation towards unprecedented nonviolent liberation from British rule.

Gandhi’s example reveals an important truth: the biggest successes often require significant sacrifices. To achieve any worthy goal, we must be willing to sacrifice short-term comforts and lesser desires to remain focused on our higher aspirations. Walking this challenging yet rewarding path accelerates our personal growth exponentially.

Defining Sacrifice on the Path to Success

So what constitutes a “sacrifice” on the journey to success? It refers to giving up immediate pleasures and conveniences to gain something of more excellent value in the future. This includes sacrificing time we could spend relaxing to put in dedicated work towards our goals. It also includes exercising restraint by cutting back on unhealthy habits that may distract us, like excessive social media usage. Other common sacrifices have reduced spending on wants to save for more significant investments, missing fun events to complete essential projects, and saying no to tempting distractions that could derail our progress.

While significant, dramatic sacrifices like selling all your possessions to fund a startup get more attention, modest daily sacrifices are equally vital in achieving long-term success and skipping that Starbucks latte to allocate more time honing your craft. Waking up an hour earlier to workout so you feel more energized all day. Holding off on watching the new show all your friends are talking about so you can focus on finishing an important presentation. Tiny, consistent sacrifices compound over time to build extraordinary success.

The Psychology of Sacrifice

Why are sacrifices indispensable in accomplishing our biggest goals and dreams? Psychology provides helpful insights. Sacrifices demonstrate that we are serious about our aspirations and committed to doing what it takes to translate them into reality. They help strengthen our self-control and willpower, which are critical drivers of motivation. When we voluntarily give up comforts for a more significant cause, we signal to our minds that this goal truly matters. This galvanizes our resolve and sharpens our focus to persist through the inevitable trials on the road to success.

Additionally, sacrifices spur essential personal growth. They help uncover and develop character traits like discipline, perseverance, and resilience that get sharpened through the trials of sacrificing daily comforts. Just like athletic muscles grow strongest when pushed to exhaustion, our mental and emotional “muscles” grow most when strained through sacrifice to build grit and tenacity.

Sacrifices also renew our sense of inspiration and purpose. The mundane comforts and fleeting pleasures we readily sacrifice are often the very things that breed complacency and dampen our drive over time. Letting them go makes space to reconnect with our core aspirations, which reignites our internal spark to pursue higher ideals and ambitions. This inspiration sustains the motivation needed to walk down sacrifice-laden paths.

Tangible Examples of Sacrifice for Success

The corporate world is filled with inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who made significant sacrifices on their journeys to great success:

  • CEO Sara Blakely failed her LSAT law school entrance exam twice before founding Spanx shapewear in 2000. She didn’t take a paycheck for the first eight years but reinvested profits to build a billion-dollar business.
  • Apple’s Steve Jobs skipped countless social events and worked tirelessly for years out of his family garage with co-founder Steve Wozniak before finally attracting venture investment. Jobs also sacrificed the comforts of a high salary at Atari to find Apple.
  • Beyond these bold corporate examples, everyday people make modest sacrifices to achieve profoundly positive lifestyle transformations:
  • Matthew gave up watching ESPN in the evenings to put that time into launching a side business. After three years of cooking website traffic growth through ongoing SEO optimization, he finally exceeded his office job income and went full-time as an entrepreneur.
  • Marie, a young mother, sacrificed leisurely mornings to wake up 1 hour earlier daily to focus on fiction writing before her twins woke up. She completed her first fantasy novel after two years of consistently putting in this time every morning.

Balancing Sacrifice and Wellbeing

While sacrifice powers success, sustained achievement requires balancing it with self-care and nurturing personal well-being. After all, exhaustion, depletion, and burnout undermine the consistent effort vital to realizing long-term goals. Keep the following signs in check to ensure your sacrifices come from a healthy, sustainable place:

  • Constant irritability and moodiness with friends and family
  • Persistent lack of energy, focus, or motivation
  • Diminished performance and progress towards goals

When you notice these red flags, evaluate whether your sacrifices have crossed into unhealthy territory. Reflect on when you last paused to restore and recharge yourself. If it’s been too long, take a break to relax, refocus, and return re-energized to charge ahead with enthusiasm. The journey to success is not an endless sprint; it requires knowing when to ease up and when to push yourself to your edge at the correct times. With this balanced self-awareness, sacrifices cease feeling like a burden but become a voluntary, empowering choice to keep progressing closer to your goals.

Strategic Approaches to Sacrifice

Making intentional, strategic sacrifices is just as important as making them in the first place. Not all sacrifices are created equally; some nudge us closer to our goals, while others barely make a ripple. Apply these approaches to ensure your sacrifices pack the most significant, most accelerated punch:

Set Clear Goals

Crystal clear goals let you make sacrifices surgically and strategically. When your ambitions and targets are vague notions in your head, you end up making inefficient sacrifices that diffuse your effort. Define your success metrics and milestones upfront so you know exactly what to give up to move their needles most directly.

Prioritize Ruthlessly

All aspirations require sacrifice, but you can’t simultaneously sacrifice for them and maintain sanity! Be focused on what you are willing to sacrifice for now versus what gets postponed for later. Saying yes to one worthy goal could require saying no to another until you finish the first. Ruthless prioritization ensures you sequence sacrifices for maximum impact.

Manage Time Actively

Don’t become an indiscriminate sacrifice machine without thought for scheduling and timing! Sacrifice smartly by actively analyzing your time daily and identifying low-value activities that can be swapped with goal-aligned tasks requiring sacrifice. Time management transforms sacrifice from an intimidating burden into a deliberate reallocation you control to your advantage.

What Sacrifices Cost Versus What Successes Gain

Why does the road to monumental success often pass through hardship and sacrifice? Most aspirations worth chasing require giving up more accessible, more comfortable alternatives. Sacrifices, by their very nature, are challenging, but they always pay valuable dividends:

  • Short-term pleasure gives way to long-term fulfillment
  • Instant gratification surrenders to enduring achievement beyond ourselves
  • Fleeting distractions recede to reveal legacy ambitions

Once we internalize this tradeoff, sacrifices morph from painful costs into wise investments toward the successes we value most. Their short-term sting awakens our passion and channels it toward the long-term goals that genuinely matter.

Internalizing the Mindset of Sacrifice

Ultimately, success enables sacrifices stemming from a supportive mindset we nurture. Anything worthwhile achieving requires giving up more accessible options and comforts. Internalizing this truth develops the mental muscles needed to make sacrifices regularly without harsh self-judgment. Setbacks and stumbles will happen to meet them with self-compassion. Progress will sometimes seem slow as daily sacrifices reveal their rewards only over lengthy timeframes. Here, patience and perspective sustain consistent motivation through the long haul.

When we embrace sacrifice as inherent to the journey rather than a burden, we build resilience toward ongoing self-development. Our internal locus of control strengthens, allowing us to take greater accountability for our actions. Healthy stress promotes growth versus hostage crises when seen as necessary tension on the road to goals bigger than temporary distress.

This mindset fuels consistency, the ultimate multiplier of modest sacrifices into extraordinary success stories. Skipping drinks out this weekend barely moves the needle in isolation. They are yet to pass up dozens of happy hour aggregates into numerous extra hours to build inspiring projects. The diminutive daily sacrifices turn substantial when maintained unrelentingly over time.

As pole vaulter Robin Goad famously said, “You have to give up the life you planned to have the life waiting for you.” The most epic successes await those willing to sacrifice for their highest aspirations without compromise. The journey entails continual self-discovery of passion and priorities, strengths and weaknesses, and purpose above self. When fully embraced, a life of sacrifice becomes its reward on the path to meaningful success.

The Compounding Effect of Sacrifice

Consider the instructive “Sacrifice of the Coffee Bean” parable to appreciate why even incremental sacrifices matter significantly over time. A young girl spots a humble coffee bean lying unused in the kitchen and asks her:

“Why don’t people choose to eat you like tasty apples and oranges? You look so plain and flavorless.”

The bean responds knowingly:

“My full potential cannot be judged by outer appearance. But place me in boiling water. I’ll stay resilient. Next, pulverize me into fine powder to brew. I’ll endure the crushing pressure. Finally, enjoy the aromatic coffee made from my essence. I promise delight without any sweetness added.”

This parable captures how modest sacrifices sustained over time unlock success exponentially more significantly than the initial act. Like the resilient coffee bean, every sacrifice brings us closer to sharing our hidden gifts with the world. While they count as plain or flavorless today, sustained efforts driven by sacrifice eventually produce results that speak for themselves.

When we internalize this truth,  the daily hour lost to passion project work suddenly feels weighty with long-term significance. The social event declined, which means a night gained crafting the next level product demo. The thriftier living choice creates a runway for that dream startup idea. Tiny sacrifices reveal an exponential trajectory when maintained consistently over time. This vital mindset shift reframes them from costs incurred into high-performing investments guaranteed to return inspiration, meaning, and success to us with ample interest!

Key Takeaways

  • Lasting success requires giving up comforts and immediate pleasures for long-term gains.
  • Sacrifice builds essential character strengths like self-control, resilience, and focus.
  • Balance intense effort with self-care practices to avoid burnout
  • Strategically choose sacrifices aligned closely with clear goals
  • The short-term costs of sacrifice pay exponential long-term rewards over time
  • Maintaining a mindset to view sacrifices as investments in the future sustains motivation during difficult times


The paradox of sacrifice is that letting go of the life we have today enables the tremendous success and fulfillment we desire tomorrow. As Apple CEO Tim Cook summarized beautifully, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” When we retain this inspiration through all our trials and tribulations, suddenly, our sacrifices transform from painful constraints into empowering vehicles that propel our purposeful success.