If there is just about one thing that I guarntee you about this world is that you will suffer in it. You will experience pain and it will do its best to destroy you utterly and completely. Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. Your source of suffering will come from many different places. Some self-inflicted some just because it’s the way that the world is. As a man it’s your job to rise above this and for every punch you take to deliver two back twice as hard. You have to learn to get knocked around, have your teeth kicked in, yet still get up swinging because the world will have no mercy on you.
There is no such thing as fairness, justice, or mercy only weakness and strength. Once you live long enough you begin to see this. As I have said elsewhere when it really comes down to it, strength is the only thing that matters in this world. When you pull your head out of the little bubble of delusions that we all live in, this becomes quite obvious. Whining about the unfairness of the world is as pathetic as one who stays in their comfortable delusions. Like a ostrich sticking it’s head in the sand hoping everything will turn out alright (it rarely does). A man must be able to look at this unfairness and this attempt by the world to crush him and laugh for he knows that he is strong enough to overcome it.
I don’t mean to sound morbid either. I have no patience for either whining or pessimism. It’s easy to just give up, cry, and whine and there are plenty of “men’s” groups that will validate your crying. I will not. Pain is a part of life and this is good for it is through facing the world for what it is and overcoming that we become strong. For facing down the beast knowing exactly what it is and coming out the other side. For going through the abyss knowing what it is and coming out the other side stronger. It is not in man’s nature to run, hide, or cry but rather to fight, go forward, and overcome.
“Good” Pain & Bad Pain
In weight training a good rule of thumb to stop training is when you feel a sharp pain. For example if you’re bench pressing and suddenly your shoulder twinges you’d be wise to put the bar up right away and figure out what’s up. Likewise soreness or pain of that sort is something you have to power through and something that will be a feature of your first couple of workouts. You simply have to suck it up and keep going. However if you kept going even when feeling sharp pain you’d injure yourself and you’d be a damn fool. There are those who think suffering for the sake of suffering is noble when it is not.
There is pain that causes growth and pain that was avoidable and is caused by foolishness. I’m not saying to seek out pain or suffering and wear it as some badge of honor. After all it’s not the pain or suffering that bears merit but rather the overcoming of it. Any fool or jackass can experience tons of pain and suffering most of it self inflicted. Growth is not caused by being an idiot then getting out of it. Growth is caused by overcoming pain that comes from the world or regimented disciplined “pain”. For example eating a strict diet over whatever you want, hitting the gym when you don’t feel like, waking up at 6 to go for a run. Those are all examples of good “pain”.
The point I want to get across is that it’s not the pain and suffering that bears merit. It’s the overcoming of such things. And there is certainly no merit in self inflicted pain that comes from lack of wisdom and how the world works. Suffering for the sake of suffering or from stupidity is not virtue. I don’t want you thinking that “Alright he said growth comes from suffering so I’ll inflict lots of suffering upon myself and I’ll grow a ton” unless that suffering is from discipline then it’s not going to do you any good. Don’t be a fool, the world will give you as much as you need and that’s even if you’re wise and knowing.
Where Growth Stems From
Now we’ll address the type of pain and suffering where growth actually comes from. First off realize that with enough discipline and denial of baser instincts you can get just about anything you want from this life. Most just don’t have the stones to get after what they want and therefore live their entire lives never knowing victory or defeat. They spend their entire lives on the sidelines and not in the arena. As a man our call is to the arena, and not just to the arena of life but to victory in the arena of life. In the arena we will be tried and tested and come out better, the world will throw challenges our way and we will overcome them for we are strong and grow stronger with every challenge.
This combined with our own training and discipline is where growth comes from. The challenges the world throws at us (along with the pain and suffering that brings) as well as through our own discipline and training ourselves for bigger and better things (with whatever pain and suffering that brings) both stimulate growth. Suffering because you’re an idiot does not stimulate this growth, it simply shows you need to change your thinking. Also remember it’s the overcoming of challenges that are throw your way and that you undertake that causes growth not the pain or suffering alone caused by these challenges.
Man is to overcome, to go forwar, to grow, to fight, and to win. The challenges that cause the most growth are generally the one’s that cause the most pain. We’ll use two examples starting a diet and going through bootcamp. The first while certainly good and can cause positive change does not cause nearly as much pain and suffering as the second. Yet obviously much more personal growth is going to occur through completing boot than from getting 12% bodyfat. As men we always need a challenge to face and another battle to win. This is good, natural, and healthy.
Men & Challenge
There is a great quote by one of my heroes General George S. Patton who stated “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war” which applies to what we are talking about here. Even if you are not in the middle of a crisis or experiencing a challenge that the world is throwing at you to fold and destroy you. You must keep yourself sharp. You must keep up your training and overcome challenges. Consider our own training we do ourselves as peace and the many challenges that the world will throw at you as war. To better face the challenges that will inevitably come you must keep yourself sharp and strong.
Not only that but you must be in a constant process of bettering yourself. Both your body and your mind traing them both to serve you well. Become wiser and stronger everyday. That is your mission, that is your goal, that is your purpose. When the barbarians are at the gate and you let yourself grow weak you and all you hold dear will be slaughtered. However when you have trained and prepared yourself for when they come they will be the ones who are slaughtered. Grow stronger, grow wiser, and be a man.
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