After World War II, Japan was utterly destroyed.
You don’t get hit by 2 nuclear bombs and stay optimistic and strong after that. Military, economically, emotionally, and psychologically, they were suffering.
In 1955, a young woman called Rosa Park made a very bold move. She was told to give up her seat to a white passenger. She was black and white people could make a black person stand up or go to the back of the bus to take their seat. But she said no boldly and courageously.
Those are seemingly two irrelevant events.
But, if we look a little bit deeper, we will find that those events are very similar. Not because of the adversity or the difficult situations at that time, but rather because they both represent a growth process.
We all know where Japan is today. It’s one of the leading countries economically and technologically. Given the fact that they were totally destroyed 70 years ago, they’re now in a much better place. Much better. They’ve literally climbed out of hell. Yes, Japan is not perfect and they have their own problems. But look at the fact that they’ve survived adversities.
Rosa Park started a revolution. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and of course many other people, started to fight for the black’s rights. Racism was protected by law at that time and black people weren’t treated with justice.
Now, gone the days where black people are humiliated in the buses or in restaurants. And in 2008, a black man became the president of the United States. I’m not American and I haven’t studied American history. But I can tell that since the days of Rosa Park and up until our days right now, there are lots of differences. Not only in America but all over the world.
Change is a growth process. What happened in Japan from 1945 and until today was a growth process. What happened in America when it comes to black people’s rights was a growth process as well. Sure no growth process is perfect, but neither anything in this world is.
Think about the time between the first day after the end of World War II and the first day in the year, say, 2000. Japan grew a lot during this time.
But what about what was actually happening during that time?
Sure, the Japanese weren’t sitting there doing some sort of mediation sessions to attract the success or something like that. But I bet they were doing something. And I’m sure it wasn’t easy.
From the time when Rosa Park shouted it out “NO” in Montgomery, Alabama and until the day when Barack Obama moved to the white house, it was a growth process.
But what about the growth phase? What was going on during that time? How people felt and how did they preserve?
Well, here is one thing that was certainly important …
The Law of Sacrifice
There’s a very obvious rule that governs the way the world works. And although it’s very obvious and simple, many people tend to ignore it.
Let’s put this law in few words, the law of sacrifice goes:
“If you’re willing to get X, then you must sacrifice Y. You can’t have them both.”
So simple. Simple, however, doesn’t mean easy.
The X is the thing that you want. We usually focus on that. However, there’s a price that we must pay in order to get this X. It’s called Y. And this Y is usually painful to sacrifice, but you can never get the X without sacrificing it.
It looks like this in real life:
X: A ripped body, 6 packs, healthy and a good looking body.
Y: Working out regularly, even when you don’t feel like it. Eating healthy food, even when facing a temptation to eat junk food. And obviously avoiding junk food 95% of the time, taking rests, and being consistent. Giving up the potato couch lifestyle and hitting the gym. (Emotionally, this means: pushing through the discomfort of not wanting to be uncomfortable. Finding an emotional drive to train and eat right and avoid giving in to unhealthy habits.)
X: Having better relationships with the people around you and the people you care about.
Y: Having some people who’ll hate you no matter what you do. Risking rejection. Having to open up to those you really care about. Breaking free from shyness and/or social anxiety. Being misunderstood sometimes. Acting awkwardly with some people. Being honest with yourself. Being honest with other people. Letting down your guard. Giving the relationships (romantics or friendships) the time and effort they need.
X: Being successful in (whatever you want to be successful at).
Y: Rejection. Failure. Social validation (at least at the beginning). Hard work. Comfort. Being disciplined and consistent. Being patient. Dedicating yourself to what you want to be successful at. Hours of reading and learning. Hours of practicing. People who will think you’re crazy, especially if your goals are very ambitious. (And the list goes on!)
X: Being good with people and developing social skills.
Y: Handling fear of approaching new people. Handling fear of talking to strangers. Risking rejection and/or embarrassing yourself. Forcing yourself to talk to people even when you’re afraid. Being honest with yourself and with others.
X: [Insert what you personally want]
Y: [Calculate all the comfort you have to give up (trust me, there is!) and all the discomfort you must accept in your life from now on.
You Want to Get The X? Be Prepared to Pay The Y
Paying the Y probably means giving up something comfortable and accepting something that’s painful as a part of your life.
A lot of comforts should be given up; a lot of discomforts must be welcomed, else you’ll never have your X.
And the bigger the X, the bigger the Y is going to be. The bigger the change you want, the bigger sacrifices you have to make.
As simple as it may sound, we still fail to apply this law. We may know it intellectually, but we don’t really have it there deep in our guts.
We refuse to follow the law of sacrifice although we know, in our instinct, that it’s true. So, we suffer. Life doesn’t favor us because we’re humans; if we don’t follow its laws, we simply will lose.
In order for you to read this site right now, many sacrifices were made. I mean I had to follow this law during my journey as a writer, learner, and an online entrepreneur.
The biggest sacrifice up until now is social validation. I sacrificed the normal career route for a career that sounded (and still sounds) like a joke for most of the people around me.
I threw away 4 years at the university right out the window. For what? For something that many of the people around me don’t yet understand (at least for now), and most of them won’t understand.
Social validation was one of the Ys that I had to pay. Probably the most difficult one. However, it wasn’t the only sacrifice.
Failure and rejection. Doubts about my decision. Feeling like an idiot for taking such huge risks. After all, how can I stand a chance with all the big companies, known brands, and star bloggers out there? How can I add more (or at least similar) value than people who’ve been at it for years? Heck, even English isn’t my first language!
So, I had my fears, insecurities, and doubts. Feeling them and dealing with them was a price that I had (and still have) to pay on a daily basis. And I actually don’t mind.
And, of course, the sacrifices included other things like working extra hard, doing my best to be disciplined and consistent, learning more, regular business routines …etc.
The point is, there’s a price to pay!
No, wait. “Price” is not the right word, it’s misleading! Sacrifice is a much accurate word to describe the situation. Why? Because it’s usually not pleasant.
Often, people start their change process enthusiastically and with certainty. But as soon as they face the fact that there’s a sacrifice, many of them give up.
Acknowledging the fact that there will be sacrifices (as discussed above) is crucial. And more importantly, being aware of what exactly you’re going to sacrifice and lose and then being OK with that is essential.
I’m sure Japan had made some sacrifices. The things that made Japan great probably were painful at some point. Just the fact that they were starting from rock bottom and yearning to become strong again was remarkable.
Rosa Park sacrificed social validation; she challenged the system and the social norms. She could’ve got hurt or gone to jail. In best cases, she would be judged, may be sued, and even punished. She sacrificed her comfort and was OK with accepting the discomfort of her decision.
My story is not equivalent to these two legendary stories. Not even close. But the law of sacrifice still applies.
Now what about your story?
Stop asking what I want and start asking, “What do I have to sacrifice so that I can get what I want to get?”