Sometimes you just take a beating.
It’s not always because of anything you can control—it’s just part of operating in a world with other sentient beings and physical forces.
Pretending it didn’t hurt or avoiding the process of understanding where the pain comes from just makes it worse later on.
What’s difficult is spending your whole life converting the operations around you into processes you can control, being successful at it, and then facing something painful and uncontrollable.
Learning to let things go and move on is just one of those things that takes a lifetime to which to adjust.
Sure there are some skills we can master while we’re here, but there’s really no end point.
The only “point of arrival” is the end of life, really.
- You can get in shape, but you can’t ever finish eating healthily.
- You can work nights to pay for college, but you can’t ever spend enough on your kid’s education.
- You can become a race car driver, but you can still get rear-ended at a stop sign.
The goal then, shouldn’t just be to take control of everything, but to understand what we can and can’t achieve—and then spend our resources moving toward those achievable goals.
In the meantime, while we’re moving, it’s good to remember that we sometimes take a beating regardless of how reasonable the goal is.
In fact, we might get beat up just sitting at home where we thought it was safe.
So, it’s not useful to drop out when it hurts. Pain just doesn’t have a good enough correlation with circumstance to be the only factor in our decision.
It also helps, while we’re moving, to remember that adjusting to pain isn’t like flipping a light switch. It takes time and the amount of time it takes varies based on circumstance, personal experience, and predisposition.
Some lessons to take away from this:
- Pain feels like an indication that we should change direction or hide but that’s not always the case.
- Staying at home or avoiding risk can still lead to pain, so you might as well work hard to achieve what you want.
- Being at peace with an imperfect world doesn’t mean you are eternally and outwardly happy, it just means you accept the often unfair pains of life.
2 Minute Action
Reach out to someone who is in pain and let them know you’re on their team.
Take a risk (it can be a small one) that you have been considering or avoiding.
Execute a small and possibly random act of kindness.
I promise you don’t need more than 2 minutes to do any of these.
That part is all in your head.
Today is up to you and you can completely transform your outlook and chances of success in 2 minutes or less.