“I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!” – Katniss Everdeen
Few moments in popular contemporary literature conjure up as much emotion as the monumental scene in The Hunger Games, in which the Capitol selects which children will fight each other to the death. It’s at this moment that we learn just what kind of hero the protagonist Katniss Everdeen will be, as she volunteers – almost certainly signing her own death sentence – to save the life of her sister.
I remember reading those pages and my jaw dropped as I realized the gravity of Katniss’s sacrifice. A close look at our favorite films and books reveals that great sacrifice is often required of the hero to bring about lasting change:
Darth Vader at the end of The Return of the Jedi
Captain America at the end of The First Avenger
Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie (the animated 1986 version)
Iron Man in the climax of The Avengers
Harry Potter toward the end of his seven-novel journey
Our heroes are often faced with a choice that will decide the fate of thousands or millions, requiring them to sacrifice everything they hold dear, including, at times, their own lives. Other times, like with Katniss, a single decision made now can have drastic consequences many years down the road.
And while nobody is asking you to lay down your life here, make no mistake: if you truly want to make lasting changes in your life and turn things around, sacrifices wil…