The Gods Will Not Reward You Without Sacrifice

Tim Horan photographed against a concrete wall with his arms stretched wide.

Words have power. Well, they did… but most words are now impotent or at worst, lifeless. We have overused, abused, and rendered them powerless.

Take the words and language of work advice as an example. We turn to time management, goal setting, and attention management in the hope of improving our work performance. Those words lack effectiveness because they are bloodless and sterile.

I do have an ember of sympathy for attention management though. That bland label conceals a truth. To honor that truth, we must attach some muscle, sinew, and skin to its bleached bones. But first, let us examine it.

Attention management implies you can reach your goals or achieve productivity if you manage your attention. That seems logical but logic is not worth a damn when it comes to modifying our behavior. If logic was reliable, why do people find it so hard to lose weight or quit smoking? Eat less and don’t smoke are logical prescriptions but they are not effective. If they were, the marketplace would not be flooded with diets and addiction treatments.

Logic is not enough to alter our habits or physiology. Our universe does not function because the dead molecules of logic meaninglessly bounce against each other. It functions based on exchanges of value. The most potent medium of exchange is something dangerous and messy. It is the hidden truth of attention management. It is sacrifice.

Sacrifice involves giving up something of value. I am unable to fully explain it, but that is always more effective than simply managing distractions. The painful and unpleasant act of sacrifice is acknowledged by our subconscious, or some other part of the universe, and beneficial results follow from the exchange.

What we call distractions are things that bring us pleasure. Who does not like pleasure? The management of distractions though is not an impressive act. The sacrifice of one, some or all of them though is a big deal.

What would you sacrifice?

  • Nightly Netflix sessions
  • Scrolling through your social media newsfeed
  • The approval of others
  • Your free time

If the removal of something from the above list seems too painful, that is understandable but also the point. The gods will not reward you without sacrifice.

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