The Benefits of Pain

The word itself might make you feel uncomfortable. It signifies pain, agony, and a host of other negative meanings. These are all correct but there is another side of the story. There is an art to suffering and positive behind it. It’s a tool that many people have learned is the ultimate key to finding what they want in life.

Take sports as an example. The end goal is to win at whatever that activity is. To do so you must put in the practice. Put in the time. Put in the effort. Put in the suffering to get what you want. Very seldom does an athlete win at the highest level without having to suffer at some level to get there. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s like paying for your groceries. You don’t get them unless you “pay the price”.

Life is the same way. We live in a world that now increasingly teaches people that they just get what they want because they want it. It’s very similar to my one year old child. She thinks that just because she wants animal crackers that she should have them. She doesn’t have the ability to cognitively reason that it doesn’t work that way all the time. As we age we realize that we don’t always get what we want because we want it…or at least we should understand that.

What’s ultimately happened is people want to be comfortable all the time. They don’t want pain. I get it. None of us want pain. We are wired to move from pain. Here is the real key here…To get what you want you will have to endure pain of some sort. Whether it be physical, mental, emotional, there will be a “pain-price” to be paid for success. It doesn’t work any other way. You can’t be comfortable and get what you want. It doesn’t work that way and it never will. If it temporarily does it will be very short term and more than likely result in the pain of disappointment.

What I want you to take away from this is to embrace “suffering” knowing that is the price of getting what you want even if you don’t know what it is. It’s a test. If you pass the test you move forward. If you don’t you stay stuck. How much can you endure? Can you fight through a workout that sucks knowing that it makes you mentally and physically tougher to handle more? Can you deal with a crappy work situation knowing that if you grind through the suck that you will find what you are looking for? Can you suffer through a horrible situation knowing that God has a better plan in store? That’s faith and that’s what makes suffering tolerable. The faith knowing that the suffering is worth it and trusting the path it’s taking you on. You just have to be willing to step into the fire in the first place.

So start training your suffering muscle. Learn how to suffer and love it. Find ways to make your life uncomfortable knowing that it is moving you along, growing you. Work on mastering the art of suffering. The people who do are massive steps ahead of others who choose comfort as their preferred way of existence. Have some faith. Embrace the suck and suffer on. The reward is coming. It’s just how it works since the beginning of time.

Brett McDonough