The Law of Sacrifice


Daily Synopsis of Maxwell Daily Reader,  by John Maxwell

February 8

The Law of Sacrifice 

Excerpt From: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Action Taken Today: Are you willing to give up to go up?


Today’s entry in the Maxwell Daily Reader references one of Maxwell’s 21 irrefutable laws of leadership. Sacrifice. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary the simple definition is as follows:

“the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone”

Sacrifice in todays narcissistic, selfie produced world of 24/7 stimulation is not very common. Nor is it something people believe necessary to achieve success anymore. With people like the Kardashians, youtube stars, and television singing competitions providing a platform for people to bypass the traditional route to stardom, its really not a surprise we as a society choose ourselves over others.

Seriously, what has Kim Kardashian done to deserve celebrity status?

Having a rich father, and big butt all it takes to be successful now?
Having a rich father, and big butt all it takes to be successful now?

There was a time, especially in music a band needed thousands of hours performing before they got good enough people wanted to buy their music. The Beatles played to empty clubs for a seemingly endless number of hours when they lived in Homburg, Germany. According to Malcolm Gladwell it was the time they spent in Germany which made them the Beatles that we cherish today. I think technology has made people lazy, rather technology used as a tool to achieve a better version of themselves.


From a personal perspective, I believe sacrifice is the foundational principle in love. It is extremely easy to say “I love you”, but its much harder to back those words with action. If someone truly loves another they will forgo personal benefits to benefit the person, they claim to love.


Perhaps the high numbers of dissatisfied people exist in the world because we have become too oriented on self, and not others.

Maxwell breaks down his Law of Sacrifice into four ideas:

  1. There is no success without sacrifice. – A good leader understands personal interests often don’t align with organizational needs, thus leaders oriented to achieving team goals will give up personal rewards to achieve success.
  2. Leaders are often asked to give up more than others. – For a leader to move groups of people forward, they need to elevate others. This often involves an intense outward focus which causes a leader to forget about themselves. If you want to lead, you will have to give up your privileges.
  3. You must keep giving up to stay up. – Logically speaking if sacrifice is needed to achieve success, then its obvious maintaining a successful position requires the consistent giving up of one’s personal desires. To keep the team up, you have to give up.
  4. The higher the level of leadership, the greater the sacrifice. – In the progression of your career as you reach higher and levels of responsibility, you will invariably give up more. The larger the team the more you will have to defer to the benefit of your teams. It’s the price of leadership.

Favorite Quote: 

“The higher you go, the more it’s going to cost you.”

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