Avoiding pain is a huge part of how we make decisions.

We are wired to contrast possible risks against possible rewards and choose a course of action that maximizes ease.

Pain is avoided at all costs.
Getting hurt is not an allowable risk.

At a default level that’s how you’ll operate. Every time.

When given a decision between doing something that’s incredibly difficult and choosing an easier option you’ll create convincing arguments to make the case that the easier option is actually the better option for you to pursue.

Tens of thousands of years of neuro-evolution make that a subconscious activity for you. You do it without thinking about it.

But that is also a mindset that is likely holding you back from operating at peak performance.

It makes you a loser.
You avoiding pain is also causing you to avoid learning the lessons that will ultimately make you successful.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the famous Russian writer, observed that: “Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.”


In other words, you haven’t begun to live until you’ve had to cry.

The easy path is the wrong path.

The path that hurts the most is the path that you must pursue.

And while it’s important to strike a reasonable balance of practicality and prudence, accepting pain as the route to high performance can simplify how we make decision.

The hardest path is the best path.
It’s an idea that should stimulate our thinking.

When was the last time you learned a memorable lesson when a painful instance did not occur first? When was the last time you found success without suffering?

Pain is the precursor to potential.

Without pain all that you have are ideas — untested ideas and meritless passion.

Without hurt there is no perspective.

There is no urgency.

There is no validation.
There is only the shallowness of conformity and duplication.

Pain stretches our capacity to invest in our own success. – It is when we look deeply into the demons that hurt us that we understand the resolve with which we must execute our mission. There is no turning back. There is no compromise.
Without pain, pleasure is less enjoyable. It’s not understood. Not appreciated. – You can’t be prepared to experience the warmth of success until you’ve shivered in the bitter cold of unrealized expectations. The pain that plagues you, reminds you of the rewards that follow up on your success.
Instead of running from pain, perhaps we should run to it.

Perhaps the key to success is not in choosing the right path but in choosing the path most painful.

Knowing that the pain we feel only accentuates our urgent expectation for the pleasure our success might one day yield.


Edgy Conversations with Dan Waldschmidt
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