The Power Of Pain
A bad thing?
No-one likes being in pain.
But it can be helpful.
Just ask the rare few born with a condition known as CIP (Congenital insensitivity to pain). A disorder that affects the nervous system and completely numbs sensation for the patient, meaning they cannot feel physical pain.
At first glance it seems like a superpower.
Until you start biting off your tongue, burning your extremities, breaking your bones and not realizing the harm you have done to your body.
Pain is a guide.
It tells us something is wrong and that it needs our attention.
I’d like to focus your mind on two important aspects of pain, and how it can help you live a better life.
Before we get going just one more thing to keep in mind. Pain is neutral. This is always a difficult conversation to have. No-one likes bad things to happen to them. Yet, the event and the subsequent pain of it, is neutral.
Simply meaning, you can wallow in your pain, or you can decide to reframe it.
Here we go:
Pain as a catalyst
“Pain has its own noble joy, when it starts a strong consciousness of life, from a stagnant one.” John Sterling
Chiseled bodies are often the result of broken hearts.
Big bank accounts are often the result of days of going to bed hungry.
Success is often the result of failure.
Pain is a catalyst. I have experienced this in my life.
Life is going well, slowly we start dropping the balls, but life keeps going well.
Until it doesn’t.
The result… pain.
Being fired. Getting dumped. Having a heart attack.
But the pain is a wake-up call.
A sharp stab in the gut signaling that things need to change.
The question is will you heed the call, the warning, and change before things get worse?
Or will you simply dull the pain, treating it systematically?
Or worse, will you simply live with the pain?
Pain as a reminder
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller
My back is full of scars. Reminders of lessons i’ve learnt.
I can point to them and tell you a story.
This was the time I tried to launch too many companies at once, and failed.
This was the time I almost ran out of money.
This was the time I felt like I could never get through it all.
But they tell another story too…
This was the time I learnt that I need to focus on one thing until it gets traction, and BetterMan was born.
This was the time I learnt to budget for unforeseen circumstances, and my emergency fund was born.
This was the time I learnt that I am resilient and that I can handle what life throws at me, my resolve was born.
Do not fear the scars on your back. Do not hide the ones you already have.
Instead, allow them to tell you a story about your survival.
A reminder of lessons learnt, a life lived, and the power of resolve.
Embrace the pain
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” Kenji Miyazawa
It does not mean that you should seek out pain.
However it means that if you are currently experiencing that searing feeling across your chest, know that it will serve you in the long run. Work with it, get through it, never make that mistake again.
Suffering is ok.
It teaches us a lot about ourselves.
But suffering for the sake of suffering is foolish.
Your best life is lived without the pain.
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