To follow your dreams and pursue your goals, you’ll probably have to make sacrifices. It’s generally inevitable. Ideally, you’ll recognize when you’re making sacrifices, and you’ll choose to make smart ones. I’d imagine, for example, that sacrificing some free time to work overtime hours to pay off a student loan is probably a reasonable decision one might make, whereas sacrificing spending time with your family so that you can become a Wall Street millionaire may prove unfulfilling in the long run.  (Although maybe not.  I’m not a millionaire, so I can only speculate.)

I’ve certainly made some sacrifices in my life. I chose to forego the typical college experience, for example (you’ll have to trust me when I say that attending a small school consisting mostly of male students and entirely of musicians wasn’t the normal college situation). I’ve also been forfeiting financial stability, large chunks of time and freedom that are devoted to being in a band, and potentially the ability to maintain certain relationships due to touring, music commitments, etc.

 

What's It Worth To You?

 

But if you’re making sacrifices in the name of pursuing the life you love, they shouldn’t really feel like sacrifices. You can recognize the trade-offs being made, but it should also be easily recognized that you’ve made these choices because they result in the least amount of sacrifice in your life in the long run. While a sacrifice can cause a temporary strain on your life, it should be noted that they represent something that, if you had chosen to keep it, would mean the loss of some essential part of your current path.

The moment I start feeling oppressed by my own choices, I know I have a problem. The moment I start feeling a sense of entitlement to anything simply because of the things I have chosen to deprive myself of, I know I have a problem. I have willingly left some things behind because I weighed my options and realized there is no better choice than the one I am making right here, right now with myself. If at some point it seems that what I’ve given up is more important than what I’m doing, I’ll have no choice but to switch gears.

 

How Can They Live Like That?

 

I sometimes think about what I may be giving up over the coming years. I think of what it means for my life, and I accept it. Any sense of entitlement that comes from feeling like I’m owed something for the sacrifices I’ve made will only lead to resentment, and that will only make me miserable in the end. Life’s too short not to enjoy the ride.

The universe owes you nothing. If you start thinking that you should be here or have that because of all the things you've given up, you're completely missing the point. Choose the sacrifices that feel the least like sacrifices, and you'll be in good shape. Jerry Seinfeld sums it up rather nicely in my favorite scene from the film Comedian when he tells a great story about the Glenn Miller Orchestra: watch the video here.