“Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.” – Thomas Carlyle
You’re a kid and you’re out riding your bike. The training wheels have come off and you get that first sweet taste of freedom. You could go just about anywhere, just you and your bike.
So, you go exploring! You take a path that you haven’t taken before, you don’t know the terrain and when you turn the corner: BANG! You hit a pothole and go flying into the bushes.
When you come to you’ve scraped your knees pretty bad and the bike is in need of some serious repair. Your mom and dad scream are glad you’re OK but still end up screaming about how irresponsible it was and grounding you for a week.
The bike gets fixed and you promise your parents that you’ll just ride around the neighborhood. Then one of your friends suggest you take a ride in the woods because there’s a track that leads to this beautiful lake. So, do you?
Some of us will make the equation “bike+unknown=pain” and some will think of it as “bike+unknown=adventure”.
Here i’d like to make a distinction. The way I choose to look at it is that there’s a difference between pain and suffering.
Pain is something temporary that we get past. Suffering is something lingering that we hold on to.
Sure, we could go out for a ride and get injured again. That’s pain. We could also look at the pain we endured last time and decide that it’s not worth the risk even though we’d love to go. We could even go as far as never getting on a bike again. Now THAT’s suffering.
When we let fear dictate how we behave we’re limiting our potential.
Let’s say you’ve got this idea for a song. It’s about underage drinking. You write it and put it out there. A lot of people react well and applaud you for taking on the subject. On the other hand several interest groups condemn you for saying anything at all and accuse you of being a bad role model and promoting underage drinking. Needless to say, you get pretty burnt by this.
Some years later you get an urge to write a song about teen pregnancy. With your past experience, would you? Maybe you’d write it, but would you release it?
Are you willing to suffer the regret and live a life of self-imposed limits?
The one thing standing in the way of your dreams is your willingness to take the pain.
A few quotes won’t hurt ya!
“Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful.” – John C. Maxwell
“What really raises one’s indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.” – Jim Carrey
“When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy.” – Salman Rushdie
“You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.” – Bill Cosby
Check out this documentary if you have the chance, it was full of great lessons!
Sir Chris Hoy – How To Win Gold