The Upside of Pain and Why You Should Seek it

We’ve been hammered with the belief that humans seek pleasure and avoid pain. While this might be the case, there are game-changing deviants out there who understand that pain, struggle and resistance are biological requirements for growth – so why should we avoid it?

I agree, most pain isn’t comfortable, but since when has comfort ever inspired growth, kicked you in the butt and had you create great things?

Warren Buffett raised his kids holding the belief that a silver spoon is a silver dagger to the heart. It makes you lazy, entitled and unable to tackle challenges in the real world.

We can easily fall into unconscious habits and make poor choices that set off a trajectory destined for extreme pain. This is the reason why it can take a nightmare to wake you up:

  • You get fired, so you change the way you approach your work.
  • You lose a prized client, so you adjust the way you serve.
  • You get dumped, so you examine the way you are in relationships.
  • You declare bankruptcy and reevaluate how you manage your finances.
  • Waking up is a good thing.

My best friend died a stranger to me and it set me on a year-long quest seeking meaningful relationships. The pain was unbearably hard. The gift was priceless.

It’s not comfortable. So how do we beat extreme pain to the punch? By deliberately creating small pain that inspires us today, rather than fall victim to the pain that leaves us shattered.

We do this more than you might think:

  • Healthy people create pain in the gym inspired by a vision of healthy living.
  • Strong relationships address the present conflict and engage in difficult conversations to avoid compound issues.
  • Successful businesses make painful choices in the budgeting process to ensure a healthy and sustainable enterprise.
  • Growth-oriented people engage in the pain associated with saying no to the things that easily suck them in and and say yes to those that move them forward.

It’s beautifully deviant and wonderfully masochistic – and it feels good.

A great example of deviance and masochism is Joe Hill. He could have entered the writing world riding his father, Steven King’s, coat tails. He didn’t. He avoided the illusion of instant success and entered into the painful process of mastering his craft. It takes time. It takes pain.

It is time to stop avoiding pain and start seeking it. Just like a muscle – it might hurt, but there is growth happening. A year from now, you’ll be glad you did it.