When most people think about difficulties in their lives, they focus on pain and obstacles. Some people use pain to overcome their obstacles, and others focus on pain as an excuse for not overcoming their obstacles. It is here that we find the difference between those who succeed and those who miss the boat to achieving their goals. Those who move beyond the pain drive themselves toward success, while those who focus on the pain as an obstacle drive themselves toward more pain because they feel like their struggle is the only thing that makes them special. Their identities become intertwined with their pain to the point that pain becomes the status quo, and any movement toward advancing their lives becomes so uncomfortable that progress seems impossible.
I write about this because I’ve been on the negative side of pain. I’ve focused on things like not having a father, having ulcerative colitis, and never having money and I focused on them as obstacles. Chris, why aren’t you good at sports? My common answer is, I never had a dad to teach me how to throw a ball. Chris, why don’t you improve the quality of your YouTube videos? Common answer: I don’t have money for fancy equipment. What you see here are easy answers: answers that take me and any hard work out of the equation. The truth is this: if I wanted to be good at sports, I could have practiced more on my own. If I want a better YouTube Channel, I can save the money to get equipment or hire someone to help me with my videos. People use excuses so that they don’t need to do the work. Statements like “I’ll always be heavy” or “I’m just not athletic” pull your ability to do the work out of the equation.
I came up with the statement “Find your Struggle” because it is up to us to take excuses out of our lives. Recently, I transitioned from training as a powerlifter to training to become a Spartan Racer. Why? I’ve always focused on being strong because strength came naturally to me. I’m not good at endurance, and I’ve always used that as an excuse to avoid doing more athletic activities. The Spartan Race is a bigger challenge, and it gives me a goal and a struggle to work for, filling my day with purpose. The choice: I can say “I just suck at endurance” and focus purely on strength while ignoring the fact that I have difficulty getting up a flight of stairs without being out of breath, or I can stay strong while improving my endurance and accomplishing an amazing new goal.
The key factor that you have to realize in trying to do anything painful is this: everyone has pain, and everyone has obstacles. Pain does not make you special. It only makes you human. If you want to be like everyone else, then focus on your obstacles and the reasons why you can’t do what you really want to do. If you want to be extraordinary, then move beyond the pain to find your struggle, beat it, and get what you want out of this life. You will only be here once. It is much better to live a hard life of struggle and fulfillment, than a life where you are pretty much comfortable but focus your attention on your excuses and pain. The choice is yours.