Pick Your Pain


It’s a guarantee in life…that nothing great comes easily. We don’t reach our goals without pain and suffering. We often focus thoughts about our goals on the positive, the excitement or the enjoyment of success, but you don’t get one without the other. The struggle is a requirement of the success.

The good news is there is joy in the struggle. There is happiness in the pain, if you choose to see it that way. It is easy to handle the success and positive things that come our way. Anyone can manage that. But what struggle can you handle? What pain tolerance do you have in pursuit of your goals? The outcome is defined by how you see the bad…not how you handle the good.

When I think about my priorities and goals, the balance of this pain threshold is very apparent. Fitness and working out is important to me, I’m at the gym almost every day…but I also know I won’t be in any better shape until I learn to turn down the desserts. I enjoy the work on the one hand. The soreness, the early mornings, the hard work…that stuff is fun. The turning down dessert at dinner? I hate that part!

I watch friends diet and train for fitness competitions, and show an amazing amount of dedication to succeed. The struggle they go through day in and day out is a struggle I couldn’t choose. But I’m in awe of them as they make up their mind they would welcome it, the outcome was that important to them. Without fail, each of them says, they “enjoy the process.”

Everyone wants a promotion or a bigger job, but few are willing to put in the extra work. The work that goes unnoticed to truly get better. Few want the late nights, the stress and the demands on your time it takes to get that job. It is hard to stay motivated. But without that drive people stop when challenge pops up. They look for an easy way out or the short cut.

Often people want the credit. They want the pat on the back for the work that gets done…but they don’t want the responsibility that comes with it. The accountability if it doesn’t work out. That is the hard part. Balancing the desire for success with the risk that comes with responsibility isn’t for everyone. You choose the whole. It’s the success and the pain, together.

Relationships are hard work. I’ve been divorced for three years and have often thought I want to be in a relationship, there are things I have missed out on. As I started dating, even the smallest sign of challenge sent me running. It wasn’t that there was a real problem it was that I wasn’t ready or willing to take on the hard work, risk the pain or work through the challenges.

The thing I’ve realized is that you have to do more than accept that pain, suffering and challenges exist. You have to choose them. When you decide what you are setting out to accomplish or achieve you have to understand the other side, the struggle it will take to get there. How you handle the pain is a far greater determinant of outcome than how you handle the success.

Nothing great is achieved without the struggle, so be conscious of the pain you pick.