Sacrificing the Little Things in Life

Shortly after writing my last blog post about riding the emotional rollercoaster of becoming a small business owner, I came across a quote from the great football coach Vince Lombardi that have given me great inspiration.

“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”

What really struck me about the quote was the second half about sacrificing the little things in life and paying the price for the things that are worthwhile.

I think I have always had a good dose of self-confidence. I was not short of determination and dedication because I was competitive. My desire to win — to be better than others — has led me to work hard and eventually to my BigLaw career, which I think was relatively successful. But I couldn’t sustain the drive because I realized that winning in itself is not something worthwhile.

As I am getting close (once again after the recent setback) to reach the “thing”, I hope – I know – it is worthwhile, at least worthwhile to me.

I have never felt so determined and dedicated. I know because for the very first time I am willing to sacrifice the little things in life. These little things – the comforts and splurges of life – are what I was working so hard to attain and what I had taken for granted. Before, I had made sacrifices – health, friendship and intellectual curiosity – so that I could obtain and retain these little things. Now, I am willing to forgo these little things, to downsize and tighten the belt, for the “thing” that is far less prestigious yet worth so much more to me.

Sacrifices are never easy. For me, the idea of embracing the sacrifice is actually far more difficult than the sacrifice itself. Once I made the mental decision to be open to making sacrifices, I realize that these little things I am sacrificing do not mean very much to me.

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19 Responses to Sacrificing the Little Things in Life

  1. Simone says:

    One of my favorite quotes of all time! Can’t wait to hear what the “thing” is!

  2. Dan says:

    Before, I had made sacrifices – health, friendship and intellectual curiosity – so that I could obtain and retain these little things. Now, I am willing to forgo them, to downsize and tighten the belt, for the “thing” that is far less prestigious yet worth so much more to me.

    Are you saying that you’re willing to forgo health, friendship and intellectual curiosity again? Those don’t sound like little things to me.

    • everysixminutes says:

      No, I am not willing to forgo health, friendship and intellectual curiosity again. I did sacrifice them for the little things in life. Now, I am willing to sacrifice these little things for the “thing”. I haven’t revealed what the “thing” is yet, but I am really hoping to soon! Fingers crossed that the transaction goes through this time.

  3. Malina says:

    Nike said it best…”Just Do it.”

    If you have the opportunity and capital to try out your company idea … you are ahead of most people out there. No need to be in an emotional roller coaster. It is weighing you down….if you continue to have to justify your decision to leave big law salary, or to even think about it anymore, then you are saying that you are not a true independent thinker … just believe in yourself, be a little more arrogant and Just do it.

  4. JPM says:

    Another general comment I have about this blog.

    I never heard anyone in my grandparents’ or parents’ generation talking about quitting a job to go on a voyage of self discovery. A job paid the bills – end of story.

    The idea that our work shouldn’t suck and should in fact be a joy every single day in something we love is a very recent phenomenon….perhaps the Oprahization of America, where we can and should “have it all.” ;)

    Let’s face it for 99.9% of the world’s population WORK SUCKS! Whether you are working in a cola mine in West Va, sewing nike sneekers in India, or working at a car dealership in Nigeria. Unless you are Lionel Messi or Robert Plant for example, your job is probably going to suck in one way or another. Often jobs that have real meaning and help people pay dirt. The legal profession is testament to that.

    I work in civil litigation. Do I love the work? No. However, I could not afford to work for $38k a year for Legal Aid, for example…although I am sure their work is interesting. This is America, and money talks and bs walks. It’s not like mainalnd Europe where even if you or your parents are broke you can still get a free education and healthcare. I will always follow the money….

    I would recommend 2 good books

    1. Read – The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
    3. Read – The Millionaire Next Door

    • Amanda Adams says:

      Everyone has a choice about whether to be materialistic and therefore work hard (perhaps doing a job they hate) in order to be able to buy more things. Or they can decide that they would rather have a job they love and less things. The luckiest people get to have both. By the way, what is wrong with self-discovery? We only have one life in which to accomplish our dreams and so to say that you have to accept that life sucks is just stupid.

      • JPM says:

        I don’t want “things.” I am not materialistic. I don’t even own a car. I have a few cheap suits. One of the reasons that I chose to do a job I can tolerate that pays better than a job I would be more interested in doing (such as a DA), is that a large percentage of my net monthly income goes towards servicing student loan debt.

        • Amanda Adams says:

          If paying down student loans is your concern, why don’t you take advantage of one of those loan forgiveness programs that require you to take a public interest position?

          • JPM says:

            You can’t qulaify for Loan Forgiveness like IBR unless you make an absurdly low salary. IBR only relates to Federal loans, not private.

            Unless you are suggesting I should take a massive paycut to qualify!? Whihc would defeat the object really.

      • everysixminutes says:

        The luckiest people are those who do something they love and be content with the few things they have. I am intrigued by the idea of living simply (like this story from the New York Times).

    • everysixminutes says:

      I understand where you are coming from. Five years ago, I would have said almost exactly the same thing. Back then, I never thought that I would one day leave my BigLaw job to become a dog poop picker. Lol!

      I did follow the money and made some money. But then what? I’d love to hear what you think your “dot dot dot” will lead you to. (This is not a rhetorical question. I am genuinely interested.)

      I just don’t think money itself is the destination. Money may enable you to do something you enjoy. Then the question remains, what is the thing that you enjoy doing — the passion — that could sustain you for a lifetime.

      Thank you, JPM, for reading my every blog post and for commenting so candidly. I hope you continue to follow me on my journey.

  5. John says:

    The idea that work ought to suck is stupid. Traditional employment is inefficient and outdated. When you get to the age of 30 IMHO you get too old to tolerate office life which is really an extension of school. A lot of people have more freedom then they think they do. A lot of people really dont want to be truly free, they are frightened by the thought of it. People find comfort moving in herds, its like we all gotta pay bills so off we go to our crap jobs and we all suck it up together so lets wear this like a badge of honour.

    I think we owe it to ourselves to find a way to spend our time which is tolerable.

    • everysixminutes says:

      So true! I didn’t realize how much freedom I actually possess until I started to disentangle myself from money/prestige/security/corporate identity…

  6. Rick says:

    I first read something you wrote in response to a story in the NYT, and I’ve since added your blog to my favorites. This latest entry is emblematic of what I’ve liked best about your writing: honesty leavened with optimism; hope about what comes next alongside the knowledge that sacrifice will be necessary — but worth it, too. I don’t think your views of work are naive at all. Finding work that you love, work that fulfills you, is both possible and essential: to be able to say, at the end of each day, that you’ve done something good and meaningful, is everything. Good luck to you.

    • everysixminutes says:

      Thanks Rick! Your comment meant a lot to me.

      “to be able to say, at the end of each day, that you’ve done something good and meaningful, is everything” — I have been using this as a yardstick at the end of my every day since July 1st!

  7. SLO says:

    Hope you have further updates. I like reading about your journey as I go through mine. Starting a side project which could turn into a business. Hope to see a new update soon.

  8. The intangibles – “health, friendship, intellectual curiosity” – are important.

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