Sacrifice vs. Value

Everyday I get to experience the way people approach their relationships with their pets, I get to see the way they relate to their family members and how they respond to the world around them. I see people at their best and at their worst, sometimes within the span of an hour. It is a wonderful aspect of my job that I try not to take for granted.

Of the things I have learned from being open to learning from the experiences of other people is that how approach understanding our situation plays a huge role in how our situation affects us. This is most true, I have found when looking at the big life choices we make and how they change our lifestyle and perspective. More often than not, it comes down to seeing life’s big decisions in terms of value rather than sacrifice. A person who sees their life choices in terms of sacrifice is focused on the things they have given up where a person who sees it as a matter of value sees their situation as a series of decisions. Choices that they made for themselves based on what they value more.

Let me illustrate my point with some examples from my own life.

I did not sacrifice the freedom of single life in order to marry my wife. Rather, I decided that I value having a life partner to share this adventure and some of the burdens of life with more than I value the freedoms that come from being unattached.

I did not sacrifice eight years of my life and a large portion of my future earnings in order to become a veterinarian. Instead, I value having a career that I love and being part of a profession I admire far above simply earning a living. I’ve spent the past few years since graduation making a life and I don’t feel like I have really had to work at it for a single day. It’s been a wonderful adventure so far, I am enjoying the present and I look forward to the future. For me, it was a simple but powerful value based decision.

Along those same lines, my wife and I did not choose to sacrifice our time, money and freedom to have our children. Instead we looked at what we were doing with our time and decided that we valued the process of raising little humans to live in this world above everything else. It was by far our greatest value decision so far and while there are times every single day where we both feel up to our necks in frustration and struggle, I still wouldn’t call it a sacrifice. In fact, I can’t think of anything of value to me or anyone else that doesn’t require some hard work and voluntary discomfort to attain. I value my children and my relationship with them above almost everything else.

For your sake and peace of mind, stop looking at your life and seeing all of the sacrifices you’ve made. Start looking at the situations you find yourself in as value based decisions. You’ll find you start to question your actions more and that leads to positive personal growth. Do you really value being right over your spouse’s self confidence? Do I value being in charge over my daughters’ self education of the world around them? Do we value saving face over the satisfaction of a client, especially when we know we did everything as well as anyone else could? I hope you know the answer to these questions, but can you see how if we looked at it as a sacrifice rather than a value statement the answer might be entirely different? By taking a value based perspective you make more ethical and ultimately more sustainable professional and lifestyle decisions. Try it out. Enjoy the results.

I’ve recently come across a few articles from the same blog that fit this theme well but from a personal finance/lifestyle perspective. I’d like to share them with you. One. Two Three.

Thanks for reading.

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