Mr. Ko sent me a message to a link of an article written by Mark Manson, “The Most Important Question of Your Life.” Nothing in life is perfect, far from it. We live our lives wanting nice cars, grand houses, near perfect relationships, lucrative careers, and lifestyles. By all means having goals and aspirations can be a strong source of motivation. Although, how often can we say that we’ve thought about the circumstances that precede getting what we want?
In the article, Manson suggests that instead of asking yourself what you want, you ought to ask yourself, ‘what are you willing to struggle for?’ Now, I can see how Manson could ask the same question in multiple contexts. However, I think that he might be underestimating how differently we react to pain and the influence pain has in our decision-making. To prevent this blog post from becoming one of my then philosophy papers, I’m going to skip questioning what pain is and the different levels that can be generalized as ‘pain’. Retrospectively, regardless of how we define pain or whether we can identify tolerance levels, pain, well, hurts.
So, why did Martin Luther King Jr. endure persecution? Why did Mahatma Gandhi endure fasting? Or why would you endure a job you hate every day; an excruciating fitness regiment and long late night study sessions? We may not have endured these things because we wanted to, but because we see a higher purpose to our persistence-our survival.
We don’t always get to choose which pain we can sustain. Granted, it might sound a little primitive, and of course it is. Our need to survive and eventually thrive in life is what keeps the fire burning, especially in times of distress. You see, after having a good cry about a situation that seems detrimental at the time, a thought comes to mind, “If I hit rock bottom, I don’t have anything else to lose. I can create.” Sometimes the only choice we can make is to build on our pain and use it to flourish.
Isn’t gambling a lot more fun when you win, even when you lose? 😉