Life Is About Making Sacrifices
Life Is About Making Sacrifices

You have to give up something, if you want to get anything in return.

I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs. People often want my advice, or my help. They come to me when they’re struggling with their growth, their plans, or their decisions, and I talk to as many as I can. I often notice a theme though. People who come to me, know exactly what they should be doing. They’re not stupid, and they’re not blind.

The problem is, what they should be doing is hard. And because it’s hard, because there are some awfully big trade offs, they want someone else to do one of 2 things:

  1. Tell them there’s another, easier path to follow.
  2. Make them do the hard stuff that they can’t make themselves do.

But I always come back to one point that has to be made. If they weren’t giving up something, if they weren’t making that trade off, would what they achieve really be worth anything to them?

It’s like winning the lottery. There are so many stories of people who’ve won the lottery and had millions of dollars dropped in their laps, only to piss it all away in a matter of a few years. And I think it’s generally because they didn’t value that cash money. They didn’t struggle for it. They didn’t give up anything to get it. So to them, it didn’t mean all that much.

When you’ve given up something in order to reach your dreams, you’re going to appreciate every success more. And feel every failure more, too — but with the added knowledge that you gave what you had and gave it your best shot.

When I was younger, I used to want to get everything I dreamed of, without making sacrifices or compromises. That all changed when I fell in love a few years ago, and started to learn that to have someone in your life who means the world, you have to give away a few parts of yourself.

Some of those parts are small — drinking white wine every now and then instead of red. Some of them are big…giving up touring in a band in order to build a life together. But all of them have been worth it.

Life is about compromising, trading, and striking deals. That’s inescapable, no matter how simply you live, or how pure your motivations are. Everyone is trading something to get what they want.

When you first think about that, it seems cynical, and dark almost. But I don’t see it that way. I see it as a part of being human, recognizing that we can’t just want, and to have our wants become reality. We have to give up some of what we’ve got to get more, whether what we’re seeking is money, power, or just someone to love.

And I think that it’s vital to remember — making that trade off, giving up something of value to you, that’s a key part of achieving anything. You don’t get to just have it all. You have to know what you’re willing to give.

I guess the best example I can possibly give is parenthood. I’m not a parent, but my friends who have had kids are so happy, so content and so filled with love, that I’ve started to see how wonderful it might be to be a Dad. And I know that having kids means making some of the biggest trade offs imaginable.

My friends tell me it means giving up doing what’s best for you, and choosing what’s best for the kid you brought into the world instead.

That trade off is important, it’s symbolic as well as practical, and from what they tell me, it’s the raw stuff that makes a parent good or bad.

Sacrifices are what will get you ahead in life. Without them, you will have nothing to gain in return.



Jon Westenberg
Jon Westenberg is a multifaceted creative and marketing director. Jon has appeared and published in Business Insider,, TIME and dozens of other publications. Over the past 10 years, he has combined his passion for business with a drive to create art and build products.