You can’t have it all

The beauty of life is in the sacrifice, not in the fulfillment of getting everything you want.

I have heard a lot of motivational speakers talk about going after your dreams, but not about sacrificing dreams for something better.

I think there is this myth that we can have it all, and that’s what we should strive for. But sacrifice means giving up something good–something you really want or love–for something that is even better.

I’m not going to accomplish all my goals and dreams. I don’t even usually completely my daily to-do list. I can’t have everything I want in life. I’ve made sacrifices, which means I’ve given up on certain goals. And that’s a good thing.

I remember reading about Howard W. Hunter. He was a talented musician, but before he got married, he gave it up. He packed up or sold his instruments and never played professionally again. He said:

Although this left a void of something I had enjoyed, the decision has never been regretted.

To be honest, the first time I read about this, I was a bit surprised. Why do we have to sacrifice good things? Can’t we purse all of our good intentions? Well, no. There isn’t enough time in the day, for one thing. And we’re given the chance to choose what is most important to us.

A few years ago, I heard a guy (who didn’t have children) talk about his mother. She was an artist before she had five boys. Then she stopped painting. The son wished that his mother had kept at it, and he didn’t see the necessity of the sacrifice. But the mom realized that her kids were more important; she realized that she couldn’t juggle both being a painter and having five boys. She gave up something good for something better.

We have to realize that if we’re not choosing to sacrifice the less-important things, we’re probably missing out on the best bits of life.

Some sacrifices are easy and obvious: giving up Facebook time or not watching television. But there are other, harder sacrifices where we choose to give up good things–our dreams, passions, goals–for our families and our children.

Sometimes we are fed lies about how we can achieve certain career goals and family goals at the same time without any sacrifice. Or we are fed lies about how career goals are more important than family goals–after all, we can have goals to influence thousands while our families are very small.

But families are much more important careers.

I believe in simple things. I believe influencing one person can be just as important as influencing a thousand, particularly when that one person is your own child. Little things matter the very most, so sacrificing big things can be beautiful.

My little things.
My little things.

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