Don’t Sacrifice Your Future Self

By | August 2, 2022

[August 2, 2022]  Buddhists say don’t be too attached to things.  Like so often, I misunderstood what they were trying to tell us.  It doesn’t mean denying the world, except if you are too in love with material things that prevent you from seeing yourself.  The fundamental lesson of the Buddhists is don’t let what you are, stop you from being what you could be.  Now, that is more profound and more true.

The capacity to continually transcend what you are on the right path.  That is humility.  You recognize that you are error-ridden.  And it would be best if you wanted to put yourself into a situation where you can discover one of your errors.  You seek error.  You seek it out, not in a way that you are destroyed.  You seek out a challenge.  Find out where your limits are located.  Find out where there is not enough of you yet.  And do that in an engaging way.

You can wear yourself out fighting the obstacles in life and your career.  You can exhaust yourself completely, and I’ve seen that exhaustion take control and destroy good folks.  Dr. Jordan Peterson tells the story of when he coached high-end lawyers to be more productive.  The individuals had an unending workload.  They worked flat out, so there was always more work that they should do.  These are lawyers who worked 80 to 90 hours per week.

Dr. Peterson recommended that they take four days off every three months.  Plan it in advance, and make no change.  This way, they could recuperate and then go back and work as hard as they could.  He was able to prove this worked by the measurement of billable hours.  Dr. Peterson notes that this is playing the game properly.  The rule is, play the game.  By taking some time off, these lawyers could play the game today and, importantly, continue to play the game (of their profession) indefinitely into the future.

This is a very solid idea.  Very optimistic.  It says you can use your sense of meaning to calibrate your progress through life.  But there are rules.  You have to aim at the highest possible good that you can conceive.

Don’t sacrifice who you could be for who you are.  If you choose to transform or maintain your current position, it’s better to transform in a positive direction.  You become the thing that transforms who you are.  You are who you are, but you are also the transformative agent for your future.

This is a moral rule.  You are the thing that is today, and you’re the thing that becomes who you could be.  And you should put the thing that becomes at a higher place than the thing that is.  That means you also have to allow yourself to rid yourself of the things you are pathologically attached to, habits and people, ways of thinking, and material goods.

Don’t let those things in your life prevent you from being who you could be.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

14 thoughts on “Don’t Sacrifice Your Future Self

  1. Dennis Mathes

    Interesting ideas here, Gen. Satterfield. Please feel free to expand upon this idea in future articles. I for one appreciate it.

    1. North of Austin

      I agree that this needs a followup. Great article, I had to read it twice to make sure I got it all.

  2. Bryan Z. Lee

    Nice! Keep up the great works, Gen. Satterfield and give us more articles like this one. Oh, I’ll be the one to say it today, buy his book, ‘Our Longest Year in Iraq.’ Bought my copy and read it and read it a second time and gave it to my cousin in New Orleans. Now, he plans to give it to another of our cousins. See, its making its way around the states.

  3. Valkerie

    Yes, like others have said, very good article and please continue what you are doing General Satterfield.

      1. DocJeff

        I can’t see really that much of a change that Gen. Satterfield wrote about a few weeks ago. Each post he makes seems to be self-supporting and well documented. I like that becuase it makes it easier to follow through with other articles on the same subject.

  4. New Girl #1

    There is rarely a time that I’m disappointed in this blog, and today is certainly one of those days that I’m happy I logged in. Thank you Gen. Satterfield for what you do.

  5. Max Foster

    Enjoyed your article today. Thank you Gen. Satterfield. BTW, I sent this article to my brother in New Mexico. He says that there is a movement – in it’s early stages – that local folks are starting to listen to this kind of thinking. The kind of thought that says that if you don’t have a noble goal which is properly defined, then we are going to get run over by evil people who now seem emboldened by the likes of our current progressive-marxist politicians.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      A reckoning is coming and it needs to me more than at the ballot box.

      1. Pumpkin Spice

        Right, people like Nancy Pelosi need to go to prison along with her husband for milking the system illegally. But the DOJ is so politicized that will not happen. The common folks know what’s up and our justice system has failed us.

  6. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Getting a bit philosophical again, right! Gen. Satterfield. Just my way of thinking. You are starting down the road of psychology too. That is one way of looking at the world but let us not forget that the macro explanations have a part too.

  7. Silly Man

    Nicely written and a great followup to an earlier article.


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