Contemporary American culture and media extol convenience, comfort and autonomy. In other times and cultures, sacrifice was widely admired and recognized as a mark of character.
In the last millennium, when I was in college, I played tournament chess. I worked hard at learning to attack and defend on the board. Moving 1”- 3” wooden pieces on a chessboard was low drama. Chess folk were not adrenaline addicts. Sacrifices excited us.
In chess and in life sacrifice is that same. You give up something valuable now for the opportunity to get something better later. No one forces you to make a sacrifice. On the chessboard you might give up a piece for a lower value piece or to gain a tactical advantage. Sacrifice always involves loss and risk. The outcome is always unknown.
On the chessboard, a player sacrifices a piece to gain an advantage that may or may not materialize. In life, there are many kinds of sacrifice. Soldiers sacrifice their lives for their buddies. The caregiver, the parent, the sweetheart who bears pain or forgoes opportunity to help another sacrifices for them.
So why is this businessman who makes a living negotiating and helping his clients create value or improve their position, why is he blogging about sacrifice? I am in the silver-hair stage of life. Sacrifice, and other traditional values mean more than I understood when I was young and had the delusion that I was bulletproof. I’ve been thinking about sacrifices we can make to improve the lives of others.
Many of my clients forego luxuries they could easily afford to build wealth they will pass on. Family, friends, and religious and charitable institutions benefit from their sacrifice.
Many clients devote time and attention to helping their heirs become wise investors. They set an example of what they consider good values and fair practice.
We are all flawed people. We can attempt to improve our relationships by doing things that are uncomfortable for us. The changes we make for others often involve a sacrifice.
What do you think? Should we think less about convenience and comfort? Should we think more about sacrificing for the good of others?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.“