Pain Before Pleasure

If you’re going through hell, keep going

Winston Churchill


Pleasure’s good. We love it. Pain, on the other hand…No thank you very much. We do whatever we can to have as much of the first one as we can get, while trying to avoid the second. The truth, however, is that you can’t have one without the other.

I reflected on this a few days ago while getting tattooed. The actual tattooing process is uncomfortable, and at times painful. But if you suffer through the pain and discomfort, the results are beautiful and lasting. Every time you look at your tattoo, you see something beautiful while also being reminded of what you suffered through to make it happen.

The same rule applies in life. Good things do not come easily. Unless you win the lottery, in which case you get a huge amount of money from a lucky ticket and can afford whatever you like. Lottery wins, however, are far from guaranteed. What is guaranteed, though, is the simple fact that if you work hard consistently on your goals, good things will happen.

Much like a tattoo, work is painful at worst and uncomfortable at best. It’s the countless hours spent on market research, building a website or finding the right commercial space. It’s learning to bounce back from countless rejections. It’s picking yourself up after every setback. It’s working for hours on end to make things happen.

Yet, almost every single charlatan or snake-oil salesman you encounter, who wants to sell you their book or programme on how to become an overnight success, will gloss over the above truth. I am not saying that every keynote speaker, author, entrepreneur, life guru or coach falls into the above categories, but the bad outnumber the good. The truth, that it takes hard work and dedication to become successful, is just not sexy enough to sell books. People want to be led, directed and given the answers. Now.

Life is all about experiences, not things, and when you work hard for a goal you learn, develop and grow. If you simply were given all that you wanted without trying, what would this teach you? Exactly. Nothing.

The harder you work for something, the more you will appreciate it when you get it. You appreciate a new coat much more if you’ve had to work harder than ever to be able to afford it. Your new business feels a lot more special if you built it from nothing. Getting a loan of 1 million dollars from your Dad to get started in business, like Donald Trump, takes the shine away from your achievement. More importantly, though, striving for a goal is an experience in itself. You learn more about yourself, learn from your mistakes and grow into a better version of yourself.

So, if you want the pleasurable outcome, put the work in and suffer for it. Sometimes it’s the journey itself which is the best bit, and the end result just an added bonus.


2 thoughts on “Pain Before Pleasure

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