The 150 Rule.

Take an inventory of the 150 people closest to you.

The main criteria I use is whether or not I believed they would show up to my funeral.

Sac·ri·fice 1. A willingness to act for a greater purpose. 2. The extent one is willing to go for a purpose greater than oneself.

Committed 1. Dedicated, loyal, devoted, bound to

If the lives of a million people could be saved at the expense of your own, would you be willing to make the sacrifice?

I asked this question on Quora, a website where you can ask any question.

As I contemplated this question myself, I realized it really depends on WHO would be saved. For example, I am certain most parents would take the fall for a child. I'm not a parent, so the next closest thing I have to children are family and friends.

I recently made a list of the most important 150 living people in my life (Dunbar’s Number), my main criteria being whether or not I thought they would show up to my funeral.

If those 150 lives would be saved, then I most certainly would be willing to die. For if the 150 people closest to me were gone, I know my life would not be worth living.

My hope is that this question makes you realize that no sacrifice you can make while living could ever measure up to the price you'd pay with your own life... and if you are willing to sacrifice your own life as I would, then all the tiny sacrifices your friends need you to make are pretty insignificant, aren't they? When they ask, don't think twice, your friends and family are worth it. The main criteria you can use is whether or not they are on your list of 150.

If the lives of those you love stand to be improved by your own sacrifice, it's a sacrifice worth making. Whether it's words or actions - anything within your ability is worth doing if their lives benefit. It's the only criteria.

Think about the sacrifices others have made on your behalf. Would the balance sheet ever be zero? For those who've given you life, are you forever indebted? Is there truly anything you can do that would ever measure up?

Have you ever pondered the debt of your own existence?

Your life is a loan, you have to pay it back with interest.

Will I ever begin to repay the debt to not only my own parents who gave me life, but all the prior parents whom led to my own existence? If you were to zoom out far enough, can you imagine how many others made sacrifices on your behalf? Perhaps a 150 others wouldn't be so far off. Think about the number of people who gave birth generation after generation, the obstacles they overcame, just to bring you the life you have now that most of us take for granted.

In an indirect way, everyone before you has conspired to bring you to this exact moment, making this moment (and your life) the most significant creation to date. Don't you think you owe it to them to live up to your potential?

So to repay the debt of the life I have been given, any sacrifice I can make for the 150 most important people in my life no longer seem like a sacrifice at all, but rather an obligation for this life on loan.

Consider as well that those 150 people on your list of conspired to make you who you are and bring you to this precise point in life. You owe them.

Here's are 4 pillars to the living by the 150 rule: aka: The cycle of sacrifice.

  1. Never say a negative word to your 150 (this includes yourself!).
  2. When a 150 asks a favor, you do it.
  3. Any sacrifice you ask of another must be equal to one you would do for them.
  4. Maintain connection with your 150 by asking if there's anything you can do to assist them.
  5. Once the cycle begins, ask for sacrifices from others.

Important: No score keeping! Friendships are not measured on balance sheets. You will give 10x to the 1x you receive. You are always and forever in debt, and no sacrifice is greater than the one you'd make with your own life.

Call to Action

Related topics