“Don’t throw away your suffering. Touch your suffering. Face it directly, and your joy will become deeper. You know that suffering and joy are both impermanent.” - Thích Nhất Hạnh
Suffering can give us a purpose. Why?
It’s real time feedback on what we need to improve.
When you choose your suffering instead of letting your suffering be chosen for you, your life changes. You will shift from a reactive mindset to a proactive one.
If you decide not to choose your suffering and face it, your life will become worse in a variety of ways.
Your Life Will Become Vastly More Uncomfortable
I'm sure that you know at least one person who puts off what you would consider "normal" responsible things. They're the type of person who puts off paying bills, have all their credit cards near maxing out, and have been working the same job for years on end, even though they say that they hate it.
None of these things have immediate consequences. That person can get through one day in the same state that they're in. Maybe they're declining by 0.1% a day. They're like the frog boiling in the pot. They don't even notice the environment heating up around them because of how slowly it has come.
Eventually, one day, out of nowhere, that person has a full-blown panic attack. Everything comes and hits them head-on. They're forced to handle ten years of neglect all at once.
Deep down, they knew that they should have handled it sooner. All these "what if" thoughts start to creep in.
The "what if" doesn't matter. It's all about "what now."
What can you do today to make sure something like this doesn't happen to you?
Suffering will come at us no matter what. Even if you're wealthy and always financially comfortable, you might have lost a spark in your life. Maybe you feel like you haven't taken a big enough risk in your life?
One of the few ways to gain respect for yourself is to be brave. When you stand in the arena, you will reinforce to yourself that even in a moment where you don't feel like you can do something, at least you have the courage to stand there.
Your Life Will Feel Meaningless
What's the point of living if you don't go on a journey? There's a reason why we love watching movies and reading books. We don't respect people who walk through life and have everything handed to them.
We respect someone who takes risks for something greater than themselves.
If you don't chase what is meaningful to you, your life will eventually feel meaningless. One day, you will wake up and realize that you never became the person you could have been. You'll start to see that your clock is starting to run out.
This could happen to you at the age of 30, 40, 50, or 60—it doesn't matter.
Wasted decades of your life are regrets that you never want to have, but it's easy to do.
It's easy to fall back into that comfort and put something off one day at a time.
We're willing to put off something one day at a time, but we aren't willing to put the work in one day at a time.
Eventually, it will come back to you. The pain of missing out on something is far greater than the pain of doing something and failing.
“If you want an easy life, do hard things. If you want a hard life, do easy things.” - Naval Ravikant
You Will Miss Opportunities
I have been passionate about writing for the past decade. During the initial years, I did not think of pursuing it seriously until last year when I finally decided to take it up as a full-time career. I discussed with my friends about starting a blog, and although I did manage to put one up a few times, it was not consistent. I found it difficult to keep up with the demands of maintaining a blog, and eventually, I gave up on it.
I could not get it out of my mind to give up.
I realized that I had missed several opportunities during those years, and it was not a valid excuse to miss further opportunities. I decided to take a step back and analyze what went wrong. I identified the areas that needed improvement and focused on honing my writing skills. I took writing classes, read books on writing, and practiced daily to enhance my creativity.
Now, I am confident in my writing abilities and ready to take on new challenges. I hope to inspire others to pursue their passions and not let fear or self-doubt hold them back.
You Will Become Less Resilient
Resilience is a quality that is developed through adversity and hardships. It is often said that a person who has experienced great suffering is more likely to be resilient. The process of building resilience is similar to forging a sword in a fire; it is a difficult and painful process, but the end result is a strong and durable weapon.
One way to develop resilience is to actively seek out challenges and difficult situations, rather than waiting for them to come to you. By doing so, you can prepare yourself for the inevitable difficulties that life will throw your way.
This does not mean you should deliberately sabotage your own life in order to make it more challenging. Instead, focus on personal growth and development, and seek out opportunities to build yourself up and become stronger.
In order to build resilience, it is also important to cultivate a positive mindset. This means learning to view setbacks and failures as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as sources of defeat and despair. By adopting a growth mindset and embracing challenges, you can develop the mental and emotional fortitude needed to overcome even the toughest obstacles.
You Will Limit Personal Growth
Andrew Huberman, a popular neuroscientist on the internet, explains that for neuroplasticity to occur, you need to make errors. In other words, you need to make mistakes to grow.
To make progress, you need to push yourself to the limit and challenge yourself to adapt and grow. Make it your intention to go out and make mistakes.
The journey toward growth requires taking action and a level of self-reflection. Start by taking small risks and challenging yourself with something every day. Do things that you don't want to do but know you should do anyways.
There’s a reason why physical endurance events like Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, Ultramarathons, and GoRucks have become so popular over the last decade.
When you choose your suffering, you are in a controlled environment. Having a controlled environment is important because it gives you an opportunity to voluntarily push yourself forward.
Think of choosing suffering as a training ground for yourself so that when that day comes when you are not in a controlled environment, you will be ready. If that day never comes, be thankful that you had a great life.
Unlock your potential and see more articles like this here. Follow me along with my 100-mile ultra marathon journey and see if you can find it within yourself to do something you never thought you could do.