What are you dying for?

January 22nd, 2020 ∙ Personal Growth & Development

My wife and I had a good friend over for dinner and a documentary. We scrolled through the PBS app and settled on watching a documentary called “For Sama”. It won a bunch of awards, so we figured it would be good.

The film starts with raw footage of a mother, named Waad, singing to her daughter, Sama. While Sama is enjoying the lullabies with a smile, bombs start landing just outside of their building. Sama doesn’t even seem bothered by the explosions outside. It seems as if Sama finds this as a completely normal part of her young life.

Waad grabs Sama and rushes downstairs to take cover before another bombing happens. This is where we learn Waad is inside of a hospital where she volunteers to heal civilians who are being bombed by the Asaad Regime.

Throughout this documentary, you will witness Waad’s entire life dedicated to freedom. Not only do they write “Freedom” across various places of the city, but they stay dedicated to serving their city of Aleppo even after hospitals start becoming targets of bombings to destroy the city’s spirit.

Even more interesting, Waad writes the documentary as if it was a letter to her daughter Sama. She explains to her daughter why it was necessary to have Sama grow up inside all of this chaos and despair.

Guys, I cannot recommend this documentary enough. My jaw was dropped almost the whole time. The documentary is freely available on YouTube or the PBS app:

If you need a quick overview of how this situation in the middle east got so messy, I would highly recommend watching this short video too:

How this relates to you

There we all sat in awe staring at the TV while the credits were rolling. All three of us were just trying to process what we just watched. We suddenly felt how thick our “safe bubbles” really are. My previous comments earlier that night, “it’s a little cold, I am going to turn the heat up” and “can I get some more spice in my soup?” suddenly felt childish and completely embarrassing to say.

We all say stupid things like this.

Our biggest weakness is that throughout our daily comforts, we forget what we truly are dying for. We’re constantly distracted with problems that don’t matter.

My biggest fear is to realize I forget about my “sacrifice” when it is already too late.

This is your life and its ending one moment at a time.

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

It’s grim to think this way, but reality tells no lies.

A life worth dying for

This documentary prompted me to really take a step back and question my day-to-day actions. Is everything that I do today worth dying for? Is it getting me to my “satisfaction of sacrifice”?

Waad had zero hesitation to fight for freedom. She saw something that was philosophically wrong in her eyes, and she put everything she had towards solving this problem — that includes the life of her own and family.

I’m already bless enough to have someone like Waad who sacrificed everything for my freedom. What type of person does that make me if I don’t pay the sacrifice forward? Hopefully, I can achieve this without the bloodshed as others paid. Regardless, I feel a need to create a sacrifice statement.

Creating a “Sacrifice Statement”

You’ve probably heard me rant about how education is too expensive and schools need more accountability on creating better students. I can get pretty excited about this topic, but I need to make sure I am stepping towards a solution every day.

My dream is to start a school someday, but obviously, that will take a lot of work. I need a statement that reminds me every day what I am “dying for”.

This is where a “Sacrifice Statement” is needed. It’s something that I am working on, but here is how I plan to create it:

Be clear

There should be no wiggle room in what this statement means.

Take sides

I need to take an opinionated stance on something that is philosophically “flat out wrong”. I need to be confident in my sacrifice.

Be brief

It should not take me longer than 2-3 seconds to read. I need to be able to read this statement every day.

Post it publicly

If I share this publicly, it will hold me accountable. I might also be able to find others who agree with me so we can work on a solution together.

Be prepared to fight

The entire world will not agree with my statement. It needs to be a statement that I am willing to put everything on the line for. Waad found her statement and proved her dedication through her actions.

The true validation question is: “Is my statement strong enough to die for?”

So, what does today look like?

I’m not intending this post to deflate any sort of mood, I’m just hoping my post opens that question in your mind of “What are you doing today? Is it worth dying for?”

If you have any personal statements of your own, I would love to hear them. Any other tips or guidelines that you have to formulate a statement, please reach out on that too!

Once I have a statement prepared I will be sure to report back so everyone can hold me accountable.

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Hello! My name is Jay Rogers.

I like to have meaningful conversations with others who share the passion of continuous personal improvement. I'm the Co-Founder of 521 Dimensions where I'm a DevOps engineer that accidently ended up in application & user-experience design. 🤖🎨

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