I don’t like pain.
In fact, I think if there was a way for me to entirely rid the world of all forms of pain, I would be the first to sign up.
The problem with pain is that it’s just so…painful.
We spend so much of our time and energy inventing new ways of avoiding pain at all costs. We would much rather seek comfort than press through our circumstances to achieve whatever it is that inspires us in our dreams.
Despite all of that, there have been some things going on in my life over the last year or so that have been especially painful.
And in the midst of all of it, I have done everything I know to do in order to alleviate myself of said pain.
However, regardless of my most valiant attempts to acquire a remedy for these painful problems, I have come up discouragingly short.
Now, just to be clear, I am not speaking of physical sicknesses or anything of that sort.
I am talking about the kind of inward, mental pain that we all inevitably encounter as we grow and change.
That internal struggle of realizing that you are not measuring up to the standard that you have set for yourself (and others) and the frustration of feeling stuck in the same place for what easily begins to feel like an eternity.
We all have dreams and aspirations of things that we would like to accomplish and yet so few of us actually end up doing so.
I believe the problem inherently lies with the fact that rather than spending our time learning how to leverage our pain towards the success we so earnestly desire, we instead squander it by trying to stop the pain altogether.
I read something in a fantastic book today that has given me the perspective that I have needed to move forward.
The author shares a story of a new businessman who was close with a seasoned and wealthy CEO. The new entrepreneur was diligently working at building his business, yet continued to be plagued with financial struggles and intense amounts of frustration.
He sought out his friend, the CEO, for help.
In doing so, he asked the CEO for financial assistance, as he knew that he could spare it.
It was difficult for his friend to turn him down, as he knew all too well how painful it was to be in a situation like his young friend.
He had been there himself not a few years earlier.
When he told the young entrepreneur that he was not going to give him a hand out, he followed up his denial with the reason for doing so:
“If I take away your struggle, I will also take away your victory”.
That statement is one I have been thinking on deeply since I read it — and I realize how profound it is that the very thing that we have all spent so much time seeking to rid ourselves of is precisely what we need to gain the strength to live out what we desire.
The pain of the moment often blinds us to the power that pain is creating within us.
It is only in the struggle for freedom that the developing butterfly gains the strength that it will need to fly.
To cut open the cocoon of a struggling caterpillar is to clip the wings of and eventually murder a new butterfly.
The quest to end all of the pain in our lives is a futile one that only will result in disappointment and more frustration.
Instead, we must learn to look past the pain and towards the joy of obtaining the reward that is directly beyond it.
This is what will give us the inspiration to persevere.
The sweet taste of victory is worth too much to cheapen it by eliminating the struggle that is necessary to obtain it.
I still don’t like pain…but I am learning how foolish it is to try and eliminate entirely that which is strengthening me to carry the responsibility of the dreams that I have within.
Check out Cameron C. Taylor’s book, “8 Attributes of Great Achievers” and let me know what lessons you’ve learned in the comments!