Last week’s encouragement was for you to nurture the root of your being in order to Be more to Do more for you and others. When you nurture the root, you’ll experience growth, and sometimes…“growing pains”. This week, we consider the importance of choosing Pain.
Why? To achieve the Gain, for you and for those you seek to serve.
Most of us have heard the saying, "No Pain, No Gain”. Often this saying is mentioned in relation to physical exercise, training and working out. But more importantly, let's apply it to self-discipline in general. Until a helpful habit is formed, there is a choice, a choice between pleasure and pain. Consider the moment you awake in the morning, if you have not established a disciplined habit of behavior, such as getting out of bed the moment you hear the alarm, dressing for exercise and hitting the gym, you may be faced with a choice between pleasure and pain: the pleasure of lying there in your warm comfortable bed, the pleasure of a few more hits to the snooze alarm. Seems almost absurd to choose the pain of getting out of bed, much less the pain of dressing and heading for the gym or that run that is no doubt going to require even more effort, even producing physical pain.
Is it not painful to say no to the dessert sitting right there on the tray in front of you?
These choices between pleasure and pain occur throughout our day, especially if we have not established disciplined habits, which by their very nature remove most of the choice. The habit says, "This is what I do, because I know in the end it is best for me. I do not allow my emotions of the moment to make the decision." But for these habits to be established, we are choosing to give up what we want now for what we want most. Delaying gratification, a powerful discipline that nurtures the root of our being, is in fact choosing pain over pleasure. In our culture of pleasure seeking, it’s easy to find ourselves even feeling entitled to the pleasure over the pain - I want it all and I want it now, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas - the ultimate loophole.
It is interesting how pleasure-focused attitudes often drive behaviors completely contrary to really having it all in the end. And thus we arrive at another saying, that it is our choice between "The pain of discipline or the pain of regret". As shared a few weeks ago, discipline and our values must drive our bus, and most times it will be contrary to where our emotions want to go in the heat of the moment. Our emotions seek pleasure and desire to move away from pain, with little to no consideration for our deeply held values: the Why's we live by. When we choose to keep our values in the drivers seat, it is often a choice of pain, painfully contrary to our emotional desires and impulses in the heat of the moment. But this is how we create solid roots and best reach our treasured destinations in life, by giving up what we want now, for what we want most. Without solid roots, there is no fruit. As the Ancient text teaches us: “You shall know them by their fruits”. Good habits will produce good fruit even though creating those good habits is not always easy.
Choose the Pain!
And know that through it all, deep down, this is how we best serve others, by being an example for others to follow.
Make it a great week,