You can’t do everything. So you have to choose.
Some say you have to prioritize. But does prioritizing actually involve choosing? Does it involving making the really hard choice? The essential choice?
Sacrifice, instead, forces you to choose.
We already know the power of meaningful choices from Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback. When we have to to choose between two irreconcilable co goods, or two really bad bads, the choice becomes meaningful. Core Drives are pulling us in and other Anti Core Drives are pushing us away!
Suddenly our agency matters. Paths diverge. Your future changes.
This might sound a touch dramatic, but if nothing else, life seems to be all about sacrifice.
On the flip side of every decision you make is something you didn’t do, didn’t get to do, didn’t have the time or energy or motivation to do.
And of course, some choices even involve further sacrifice.
The decision to learn the trade of an astrophysicist may involve sacrificing time with the family across many years. The same could be said for an aspiring all-time-great novelist.
The Noble Sacrifice
Sacrifice is often left out of discussions of top-performing women in the workplace. Many women, and rightfully so, choose to sacrifice career to have kids, raise their children, and build a family.
That is a noble sacrifice.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than ever before.”
That, for many people over and over again, is the sacrifice that, on one hand limits their career, but on the other, augments the total quality of their life.
So let us not too quickly dismiss with sacrifice.
Sacrifice seems to augment our motivations. It seems to make the things we did choose and will choose to do even more powerful, because the sacrifice itself is of the many things that could have also been done, that were left undone, just so the pursuit of what mattered most could be achieved.
Maybe more sacrifice should be included in our motivational designs, and more human empathy employed tho to our users, who are also humans, in making the tough choices they face. We are all making a sacrifice at almost every moment of our day.
For more thought-provoking design and gamification discussions prompted by input from a vibrant community of thinkers, check out Octalysis Prime.