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This week I was twice reminded about the relationship of sacrifice and wisdom.

Patient A was failing (again) to loose weight. “I guess I am afraid of success” she grinned. I replied no, she wasn’t afraid of success; she was afraid of work. She wasn’t willing to do the steps necessary to obtain her goal.*

Patient B announced he wasn’t going to apply for medical school after all as he figured the time and energy it would cost him made it ‘not worth it’; he didn’t want to ‘waste his 20s’ going to school while his friends were traveling and partying through theirs.

Both cases reminded me (as I reminded them) obtaining anything of true value requires work- not only work, but sacrifice.  Any skilled musician knows it takes a lot of practice time to become proficient at an instrument. Athletes train long and hard, giving up lots of things in order to obtain their goals.

When it come to Wisdom the sacrifices are often even more profound.  I recently read some Norse sagas about Odin. Odin had to give up an eye in order to drink from the well of Wisdom. He exchanged physical vision for inner-vision. Not only did he gain Knowledge but the discernment to utilize it.  Whenever we grow, something is lost; wisdom has its price, whether time, money, relationships, or (usually) giving up something to get something new.

These two patients reflect the modern notion if it hard then it is not worth it.

Ancients knew if something was of worth, then it will be hard.


* Get to the gym, stop buying and eating junk, and monitor her portions to start with.

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February 2015

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