WHAT'S the difference between suffering and sacrifice?
Both suffering and sacrifice share some common elements – hardship, difficulty, discomfort, and pain. But sacrifice has an edge over suffering. Sacrifice is suffering with meaning, reason, and purpose. Hence, plain suffering is negative, while sacrifice involves a positive meaning.
In sacrifice, the burden of suffering is lightened because of something good or meaningful. We, Christians, are wont to say, “Pain without Christ is suffering, pain with Christ is sacrifice.”
But, are achievements and success possible even without sacrifice?
Ordinarily, or in the empirical scheme of things – the answer is no.
James Allen in his article “As A Man Thinketh,” wrote: “There can be no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices.”
Similarly, Napoleon Hill once said: “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”
Also, John Maxwell’s Leadership Law #18, in his “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, states: “There is no success without sacrifice. If you think about life’s great achievements – graduation, marriage, career – each comes with an equally enormous amount of sacrifice. Even the most successful people we can think of, such as athletes or celebrities, must put in long hours and give up the luxury of living a normal life to get where they are.”
Sacrifice as a sine qua non or indispensable to attaining achievements or success is not only limited to acquiring “possessions” or gaining “positions”.
Great sacrifices are also required for such great achievements such as lasting friendships or relationships, successful marriage, successful parenting, and successful business partnerships.
In lasting friendships, you invest hard work, dedication and sacrifice to achieve mutual trust, respect, and commitment.
In marriage, in order to succeed, you invest ultimate commitment and embrace a mindset of “we” rather than “me”, and of “what’s mine is now ours”.
In parenting, you invest unconditional love and make sacrifices that enable your children to flourish and reach their true potential.
Truly, therefore, sacrificing greatly in order to achieve greatly is a choice – and a responsibility as well.
It is choosing long-term and lasting “good” over fleeting pleasures and temporary gains. The more meaningful and purposeful your sacrifice is, the less burdensome it is for you to reach your goal.
In closing, here’s a good reminder from Krish Dhanam, author and motivational speaker:
“97% of the people in this world operate in the comfort zone. 3% of the people in this world operate in the effective zone. The difference between comfort and effectiveness is called growth, and growth is uncomfortable.”