Law of Sacrifice

Brett and Kate McKay, from The Law of Sacrifice

Society today tries to deny the law of sacrifice at every turn, promising people that they can fulfill their desires without having to forsake anything at all. “Lose weight without giving up your favorite foods!” “Get ripped without long workouts!” “Get rich without having to work hard!” The denial of the law of sacrifice is at the heart of things like our soaring credit card debt (US citizens currently hold $886 billion of it), not to mention our national debt. The fantasy that you can have whatever you’d like without ever paying for it is an incredibly seductive fantasy.

But it is only a fantasy. There is always a price to pay.

“What does it cost?”

Over the years, I have talked to hundreds of prospective students who have walked into the dojo and asked about Aikido. One quickly learns that anyone who walks in, has some level of interest. So these are not cold sales calls where you need fast paced, hard hitting, sales tactics. People simply have some specific questions that need answering before the conversation continues to more general topics.

Some people are concerned about the monetary cost. That is important, and money should be discussed. But they should be much more concerned about the time cost of the commitment.

My explanation usually goes like this…

The cost of committing

One class per week is not often enough, and few people can withstand training more than three. So let’s say you’d like to come to class twice per week.

How much time is that? For each class you need at least one hour of padding — pack your bag, drive to the dojo, change before/after class, drive home, unpack, etc. Then the actual class time is about 2 hours per class. So three hours per class, twice per week: We’re talking about, six hours every week.

Now think about your life, and tell me about the six hours every week when you are alone, doing absolutely nothing.

So the real question is: What are you willing to give up from your current life to create those six free hours?

There’s no going back

Once you realize that your time is the limiting resource in your life, you’ll look at everything differently.

How much time do you spend watching TV? Is that time entertainment, family bonding, or what? Do you value anything more than entertainment?

How much time do you spend commuting to work? You clearly value something more than your time. (2 hours a day? 14 hours a week? . . .) What is it that you value so highly you’re willing to commute? …is it your children’s school district? …the size of your paycheck? …your career path?

Do you mow your own lawn? Do you pay someone to mow your lawn? Might you spend time mowing your lawn if it was mentally relaxing? …or if you push-mowed (sans motor) your lawn, and it was a means of exercise?

Do you get enough sleep at night? If not, why not? …are you spending time in the evening/night doing — what? Why do you value that activity more than sleep?