It is an unfortunate reality, but there is a direct relationship between how much you are willing to suffer and how much success you are likely to encounter.
Or maybe the relationship isn’t all that unfortunate… Perhaps the suffering is the thing that makes the success feel so good? Perhaps without the suffering, the rewards wouldn’t be worth all that much?
I use this term “suffering” with some hesitation because there are so many people out there who are REALLY suffering with incurable disease, chronic pain, famine, etc. Those people could teach us a thing or two about endurance and mental toughness.
The sort of suffering I’m talking about here, is the physical and mental hardship that we intentionally and voluntarily put ourselves through to get what we want.
As runners, we can all relate to the process by which we improve our performance. There is an initial goal of being able to run for a certain distance or time, which we soon discover leads to some discomfort and/or pain. There is a battle that goes on in our head that also doesn’t feel all that great, but if we hang in there, our goal is met. Oftentimes, after that moment in time, there is more pain to follow, as we pay for that torture we have just put our bodies through. Then, before we know it, we are repeating the process and trying to take things to the next level, whatever that may be.
It goes beyond this though, and we find pain or discomfort in most facets of our lives at times. If we want to get out of bed early to exercise, or even just to get to work or school on time, it may require us to leave the comfort of the bed and experience more discomfort. Coming home from work and feeling tired, wanting nothing more than to sit down and relax, we find that the exercise we know we should do, needs to happen NOW or it probably won’t happen at all. This too requires us to leave behind the WANTS and replace them with the MUSTS that will eventually give us the BIGGER WANTS that are more aligned with our bigger goals.
If you have ever read any of Ernest Hemingway’s books, you will have picked up on his underlying philosophy that man should test himself every day. He should seek out hardship, suffering and discomfort. This may seem extreme, and it possibly is, but consider the alternative… which is to rely on what some people may call fate or good luck. Relying on this is why so many people are simply waiting for their lives to change. And waiting. And waiting.
Be the change that you want to see in your world.
Create your ideal situation by choosing to do the hard crucial things over the easy things.
If it hurts a bit, if it makes you feel uncomfortable or if you are stretched, pushed and challenged, then good. Nothing good comes from a life filled with comfortable chairs, clean hands and no sweating.
Go get it.