This is perhaps one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself. Everyone wants the good stuff – success, riches, fitness, happiness, an easy life or just feeling good. Everyone knows what they want out of life. And it is easy to understand why.
However, the more important question we should be asking ourselves is – what pain do we want in our lives?
Danny Way – considered by many as the greatest skateboarder of all time – jumped over the Great Wall of China on a skateboard using a massive ramp structure in 2005. He is also well known for other extreme stunts, such as jumping into a skateboard ramp from a helicopter. Behind all the glory and fame is a man who has had multiple injuries and no less than sixty orthopedic surgeries. He pushes hard and endures more physical and mental stress than any other athlete in the sport.
Yes, Danny Way knows a lot about pain. But no, thankfully I wasn’t referring to this type of pain. I use the word pain partly also to dramatise this blog title and to get your attention.
The pain that I am referring to is about the effort, strain, trouble, struggle, discomfort, and even suffering that comes with achieving worthy pursuit in life. In this regard then, the question is what pain are you willing to accept in your life?
Everyone dreams of a high-flying career with killer salary but not everyone is willing to suffer through 60-hour work weeks and the immerse stress that comes with it. Many want to be ripped and look great, but few are willing to work through the trainings to get there. People just want to get rich and be financial independent without putting in the sacrifice necessary to accumulate wealth.
You see, we tend to view pain and struggle as negatives and would do whatever it takes to avoid them. But if we were to look at it objectively, pains and struggles are necessary evils that ultimately bring purpose to what we want to achieve in life.
Think of it this way. Everything that is meaningful in life requires struggle.
Wedding is nice but after that, a successful marriage is hard work, most of the time. Anyone with kids will understand the pain (and of course joy) that comes in raising them. Ask the Olympian or any successful athletes how easy or how much pain they have to go through for years no end to reach their level.
All the good stuff that we want and the happiness we dream of requires struggle. Pain is inevitable.
When I was young, I had the typical and naïve fantasy of being very successful in life (big house, big cars, big vacations). Just like other dreamers, I wanted to be very rich. Day dreaming is free.
Since I wasn’t born with the silver spoon, waiting for a windfall inheritance is out of the question. So I remember I studied harder in school, worked longer hours at work, hanged out less with friends and saved as much as I could. I put in a lot of effort and often deprived myself of the easies. There were many trade-offs and delayed gratifications.
I turned out OK, financially well to do based on society’s norm, but I am no where near filthy rich. Does that mean that I am happy with where I am? Not exactly. But I know in order to achieve the level of wealth I dreamed of as a kid, I would have to put in much more work, take on much more stress, stomach in substantial risks and sacrifice the time I enjoy with my family.
Now this is the pain I was and am currently not prepared to go through. As I mature, I balanced the wants to be richer to the amount of pain I can sustain and tolerate. I can get richer, but I don’t necessary think it is worth the trouble. So, good or bad, I settled. Because even though I wanted the benefits of being very rich, I wasn’t ready or willing to pay the price.
Ultimately it is the hard questions that matter. Taking it easy, is easy. Que sera, sera, what will be, will be, will not cost you any pain.
We want the reward but not the struggle. We want the result but not the process. We only want the victory, but not the battle and struggle necessary to conquer it. Life simply doesn’t work that way. Our struggles will determine our successes.
So the important question remains. What pains do you want in your life? The answer to that will actually get you somewhere. It is the question that can change your life.