“There is just so much hurt, disappointment, and oppression one can take….The line between reason and madness grows thinner.”

Rosa Parks

There has been a lot of conversation recently suggesting that pain is a requirement for success, so it is something to be welcomed and embraced. Maybe not in those exact words, but you get my point. Yes, I get it, pain, in some respects, is an inevitable part of life. We will all feel pain at some point – for example, no matter how long a loved one lives, they will eventually pass on, and we will experience pain. However, there is pain that can and should be avoided by all costs – senseless, tragic pain.  

In reflecting on this over the last few weeks, I realized that there are two broad categories of pain:

  1. Tragic pain. This is the type of pain no one would wish on themselves, even if they were guaranteed to come out ‘better’ for it.  But it happens. This includes the pain of failed systems, the pain of betrayal, the pain of loss, the pain of illness, the pain of injustice, the pain of abuse, and other unforeseen tragedies. Some people find ways to cope and overcome; many others get crushed by it. Unfortunately, we only hear the stories of the victors, which gives rise to lines like “I wish you pain, lots of it’’. I struggle to see why this sort of pain has to be a necessary component on the path to success. No, I do not wish you that sort of pain.   
  2. Pain of discipline. This is the pain of sacrifice. Intentionally giving up something you might prefer to keep in pursuit of a greater goal.  The pain of saving when you could go on a spending spree; the pain of investing in knowledge acquisition when you could do other things with your time; the pain of losing weight or gaining muscle, etc. This sort of pain, while not an end in itself, is a beneficial byproduct of your greater goal.  

So, friends, I do not hope suffering happens to you. Instead, I hope you proactively develop discipline and the resilience that comes with it. And if tragic pain comes your way, I pray you find the grace and strength to overcome it. 

I would love to hear your reflections on pain and how you think about it.

Yours in possibilities,


PS – I share about the power of discipline and self-control in UNLEASH.  Click here to learn more and get your copy.

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