Give Me The Fish (GMTF): The human body’s greatest strength is its ability to adapt to the environment around it. Pain is the trigger. Reject comfort, embrace pain, and embrace a better you.
“Pain is the universe unguarded.”
– Steve Aylett
It’s Not Barbaric It’s Essential, Embrace Pain
In today’s world, we live in a soft environment where pain is seen as something to be avoided. Where the idea of somebody seeking to embrace pain, is seen as psychotic. But, by wrapping yourself in a cocoon of bubble wrap and kind words, you are stopping yourself from adapting and growing to reach your fullest potential.
I’m not a masochist. Swearing after stubbing a toe is a normal occurrence in my life and probably in yours. But, you have to step back and realize there is another side to the pain we experience.
Pain is not just an early warning signal for bad things to come. It’s essential to life by driving us to grow and improve. Just like how you learned not to touch hot stoves because you don’t like the pain of crispy fingers.
And how we were taught our multiplication tables because Mr. Baker hates children, but also because he painfully made us solve hundreds of mind-numbing math problems. And, most of us have volunteered to endure muscle searing workouts in an attempt to get bigger, stronger, or faster.
We don’t talk about it. But, on a primal level, we already know that pain is essential to growth in life. Yet, we avoid it in our forever ongoing search for comfort.
It’s almost ironic how we’re built to avoid pain. Yet, we need it to grow and become better at avoiding that very pain in the future. By learning to embrace pain, you can learn the secret to being better, stronger, and outstripping your fellow man.
We Naturally Avoid The Uncomfortable
This avoidance of being uncomfortable is not our fault, this is built into how we work.
When I was going through the Marine Corps Officer Training School, we spent a fair amount of time both learning and practicing ambushes. If you look objectively at the idea of setting up an ambush or setting up a blocking position in the woods, the idea is absurd. In the context of an entire country, how the hell would you know where the enemy is going to be?
It’s surprisingly easy.
Even the best-trained militaries in the world, typically pick the easiest route and the least painful way to travel. Whether that is cutting through an open field rather than wading through a swamp. Or, taking a trail rather than trudging through the snow.
People naturally seek the easiest route.
As a species, we strive to make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
But just like in warfare, the easiest route is normally the wrong choice.
While avoiding pain might not get you killed, it will stop you from growing, not just in your ability to take on the world, but your ability to be happy. To put it bluntly, pain is what leads you to a happier and better life, because otherwise, you don’t know what there is to lose. Pain is a spice to life.
Yet, here we are avoiding pain and wondering why our lives are so boring.
We skip leg day because we don’t like the pain. Then wonder why our legs are so small. People refuse to watch what they eat. Then shovel processed food and gobs of sugar in their mouths and a decade later, they start wondering why they’re fat. Or, you need a certification for your job, but don’t want to have to study or pay for it, then wonder why you don’t get promoted.
All of this just because we refuse to embrace a little pain so we can be comfortable at the moment.
While, if we just sucked it up, our lives would be better long term. We would be a little stronger, a little leaner, or a little smarter, all of which will pay dividends the rest of our lives.
No Pain Means An Average Life
Our bodies are amazing machines. They are built around the sole purpose of adapting to the needs of the environment. That adaptation needs a trigger. The trigger is pain, pain is what forces us to adapt.
If you place yourself a soft environment then your body becomes soft. Hard environments make you hard. “Dune” by Frank Herbert hits the nail on the head. In his book, Frank Herbert writes about it taking the harshest environments in the universe to create the deadliest warriors. These words are not just fiction. There is a reason why he focused on those warriors that embrace pain.
Frank Herbert’s universe works no differently than how militaries work in real life. Marine Corps Boot Camp isn’t accidentally hard. Militaries all over the world strive for “Hard, Realistic, Training”. It’s not just for muscle memory. It’s the forcing of the body to take more pain to make it better.
The level of pain you feel determines how much your body needs adapt to rise to the challenge. If there’s no challenge, there is no adaptation. Your body has no reason to change for the better.
Avoid The Uncomfortable, Or Embrace Pain, Your Choice
We currently live at a unique point in history. A situation where we can choose what environment we want to live in. We actually get to decide how we adapt.
If you want to make your life better, be more successful, and live a fulfilling life, embrace pain.
Find workouts that make you want to vomit. Jump in an ice bath and push through the screaming voice in your head that says run out and get warm.
Go for a run where you’re not sure if it’s tears or sweat running down your face.
Volunteer to take a class where your head hurts from frustration over not solving a problem.
Take a class in woodworking where you have to make a cut five times because you keep chipping the end.
Find a way to challenge yourself and embrace the uncomfortable in your life.
While it’s normal to avoid pain, it’s within your power to fight the urge and embrace it. You have the power to choose what pain you feel.
By choosing the pain you feel, you are choosing the path in which you become better. You are deciding that you are fed up with being who you are and you want to make an upgrade in your life.
I’m not saying go stick your hand on a hot stove. But, if you want to become better, smarter, or stronger, you have to be willing to take the pain necessary to get there. And, that pain might just make you wish it was your hand on that stove.
Embrace pain, force an adaptation and embrace a new and better you.