Friday 3 July 2020

Don’t Waste Your Pain

Pain is part of life. You don’t have to like it but you can benefit from it. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the following: “pain makes me grow; growing is what I want; therefore, for me pain is pleasure.” While this can be true with physical training it can also be applied to our mental interpretation of pain. Michael Jordan stated “failure gave me strength; pain was my motivation.” Losing a game or not performing as expected on game/show day can defeat you or it can catapult you to an even grittier level of focus and determination. At the time though, the pain may overtake your ability to see through it. The idea that you might one day be grateful for your hurt and disappointment seems unthinkable.

Think of a puzzle. We cannot see the big picture for our lives.  On the front of the puzzle box, we can see what the overall puzzle picture is supposed to look like. But when you look at one piece, you may be at a loss figuring out where it goes, how it fits. As in life, when something negative happens, we often ask ourselves “why?” “Why did this have to happen?” The painful situation/event doesn’t make sense, i.e., you trained hard, stuck to your diet, tried to get as much rest as possible, stayed hydrated and so on but despite your best efforts, your efforts were not rewarded.

Now how do you define “rewarded”? Does “rewarded” mean winning your category, scoring the winning shot or the most shots in the game, or running the fastest time, i.e., being rewarded is correlated with your end results? That is one definition but if that is your only definition, you are setting yourself up for pain without the gain. The gain is what did you learn from that experience? In order to grow from a painful experience, you need to focus your mind on looking for the lesson, as this will enable you to take your power back. The next step is to take action! What can you fine tune and/or do differently next time to obtain more optimal results? By learning and doing things differently, you can transform your pain into motivation, drive, unrelenting focus, and ultimately breakthroughs.

Throughout our lives, we may not understand when negative things happen to us. What we do know is how we feel about it: sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated, pain. Yet we always have a choice. Even in our pain we have a choice to make. We get to decide whether we will take the opportunity and grow or whether we will let it consume us.

Pain changes us. How the pain changes you is up to you. You can come out bitter or defeated or come out better, stronger, and more confident. That difficulty is an opportunity to get stronger, to develop character, to gain new confidence. Anybody can give up but that pain isn’t there to stop you; it’s an opportunity to learn, do things differently and make breakthroughs.

All of us go through pain. Don’t just go through it, grow through it!

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