Pain — a word that we try to distance ourselves as much as we can. Something we try to avoid at all costs. In fact, avoiding pain is a bigger motivation than the pleasures of success.
What we don’t realize is that pain and pleasure go hand in hand. Things that bring us happiness are also the same things that bring us pain. The question is:
What pains are you willing to suffer through in order to experience happiness?
Life Is Equal Parts Pain And Pleasure.
Having a great body might give you a lot of joy but it hasn’t come without your body suffering through the muscle pain, fatigue, cramps, the hours spent in the gym — that could have been spent either sleeping or catching up on your favorite Netflix shows.
In my case, I have had days where I wake up with my whole body sore. I have had to take pain killers some days just to be able to get going with my day. There are days when even laughing hurts! But I have to go through this pain in order to get in the kind of shape I want.
Running your business might give you a lot of happiness but it comes with the pain of a lot of stress managing headcount, finances, sales, dealing with customer grievances, being okay with the uncertainty of your livelihood or working 100 hours a week!
Working at a great company gives you the assurance of a great salary and benefits but the pain of not having control over your time. It comes with a lot of restrictions that you need to suffer through and answer for while you are on the company’s payroll.
When I chose to work in a 9–5 job, It came with the knowledge that I won’t have complete freedom of my time (pain), I will be answerable to my stakeholders (pain), my life will have to revolve around my work (pain), and that I will run into people who will be a complete pain in the ass to work with.
Here is a fact about life that we constantly overlook:
Everything in life comes with its own share of pain that you have to power through in order to reach the other end.
No matter what it is that you choose to do, you will have your share of struggles along the way and being aware of the fact that you chose this route despite the pain you knew you were going to go through, only makes you more resilient and persistent.
The key to a happy life is not avoiding pain but rather figuring out which ones are worth suffering through!
As much as I might deny it, I love the comfort and the security of a 9–5 job. It is clearly not painful enough for me to quit and pursue my own endeavors.
On the flip side, I would rather stay fit than make the rounds of a hospital. I would rather spend an hour in the gym for 6 days a week than sit back, relax and watch shows on Netflix, only to turn into a doctor’s guinea pig.
My yearly physical shows that it is paying off!
You cannot avoid pain. You cannot run from it. You can only embrace it and manage it.
Embracing and Managing Pain
The pain we chose to suffer through will end up defining us and separating us. We have all heard plenty of stories of struggling actors, athletes, performers, writers, entrepreneurs who choose to embrace the pain as they marched towards success.
The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t lie in their ability to embrace and manage pain.
Elon Musk risked it all by putting his newly earned fortune to start SpaceX and Tesla, two companies that were based on business models that have never been profitable in the past.
We all know how that went.
But what you probably aren’t aware of is that many before him tried and failed. And many more who just fantasized about the million dollars and the fame they might earn without actually getting out there to do something about it. As wildly successful blogger and best-selling author of the book ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ , Mark Manson puts it,
“If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the beach body, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off one person or ten thousand.”
I can relate because I used to pride myself for being a dreamer! And I am happy to admit that it didn’t lead anywhere. I was fantasizing more about the victory than willing to work through the struggle, willing to manage the pain.
How Are You Choosing To Suffer?
I have been wanting to start something of my own and yet here I am in a cushy 9–5 job sitting at home writing about how I fantasized on my laptop.
In fact over the years, I have fantasized about a lot of such things….without actually wanting to suffer through the pain it brought.
I have wanted to (and part of me still wants to) become a motivational speaker
I fantasized about being a good dancer
I wondered what it is to be financially free
I wanted to go to an Ivy League school for my post graduation
I dreamed about the life where I would have a million dollars in my bank account
But then I gave it all up in an instant when reality knocked on the door and twisted my arm.
After all, I wasn’t willing to embrace the pain that comes with being embarrassed on stage. I wasn’t willing to go to dancing classes three days a week after work. I wasn’t even willing to give time to understand what it takes to be financially free, let alone have million dollars in the bank account.
As I mentioned above, I wanted the victory more than the struggle — hence these dreams now sit in my journal gathering dust, until I am in a mood to self loathe and I choose to wake them up from their slumber. Looking back, I can only laugh at my audacity now.
So ask yourself:
How do I want to suffer?
What are the costs I am willing to pay?
Here is another fact: Everyone you know, has consciously or unconsciously picked the battles they want to fight — the pain they are okay suffering from, so next time you meet someone you know, ask them the same question and when they look at you like they don’t know you…
Just share the link of this post with them and enlighten them with some much-needed reality check.