Sacrifice is the backbone of achievement, or so I’ve heard. To achieve anything noteworthy, or to simply stand out from the crowd, one must sacrifice a normal life in exchange for deprivation. No television; no nights out at the bar; no junk food; no sleeping in; no straying from the all-but-ignored, “Your body is a temple”. Has my life become one of unending sacrifice?

Is giving up junk food…

My world has schedules and diet plans that keep me from things like television, restaurants and dance clubs; keeps me sober, keeps me busy. Even mentally, my mind races through the day, rarely braking—or even slowing—long enough for thoughts of the latest Hollywood scandal or seasonal sporting match-ups to enter. I seldom Facebook and hell if I ever Tweet. I may have even sacrificed a family to some extent by waiting much longer than average to marry. Of most things considered quintessential to happiness in America, I deprive myself and live the life of a new-age monk. Maybe I should just end it now: how much worse could it get?

…in exchange for this really a sacrifice?

I don’t know why, but this morning, I had an epiphany: I sacrifice nothing. The cause of this revelation: the majority of people I knew from high-school, known now through the tenuous social connection of Facebook—the one thing I wish I could cut from my life. Some post all day long about the latest TV show, the latest sports game, useless pieces of news, drivel about their stagnant lives, and every meaningless phrase that falls from the lips of their four-year-old. The majority became fat, they live for Friday nights at the local bar, and they complain incessantly about problems they help create for which they refuse responsibility. Their life will probably end in new American fashion, in a diabetic coma or heart attack in some nursing home, placed there by the adorable four-year-old grown up into an apathetic fifty-something. Is this what I’m giving up?

Normalcy denies the essence of achievement that I cultivate in myself and in those around me. Normalcy takes from me the time I need for thought and action. Normalcy would be me sacrificing life. Two hours of my day that could be spent watching TV are dedicated to the gym, a few more revolve around cooking and eating. In exchange, I wake up to a six-pack of abs every morning, 19-inch arms and legs chiseled from human steel. I spent years in college and graduate school studying instead of partying. In exchange, I can understand the connections between quantum mechanics and consciousness, molecular biology and muscle growth. I waited to head down the road to a family, forgoing women who were all great in that normal kind of way. In exchange, I married an incredible woman of depth and beauty—with the body of a fitness model, who’s gorgeous—whom I gaze upon everyday in wonder and in love. In the end, my life is one of absolute delirium. Where’s the sacrifice?

Sacrifice is a term the unmotivated use to justify their laziness: “I could never make those kinds of sacrifice.” Living at the edge of human capabilities, pushing beyond limits, being mindful of each action of each day, creating an envious relationship is not sacrifice. Life no longer demands excellence, so I demand it of myself—a denial of that essence would be a sacrifice equivalent to giving up air. Sacrifice the ordinary and be an example of humanity at the pinnacle of possibility.

That’s why you’re here reading this blog, isn’t it? I know that’s why I’m writing it.