Why You Need Self-Imposed Hardship
We need hardship, struggle, and pain in our lives.
We need it for improvement, so we can achieve, learn, evolve, and grow, but we also need it for our own sanity.
A life devoid of physical pain will soften, weaken, and eventually fail.
A life devoid of mental pain will freeze, slow, and decay.
Pain and struggle seem bad, they seem like things we want to avoid – and we do want to avoid them – but by avoiding them we incur more of each.
By avoiding discipline in the moment, the pain of running or lifting, you welcome the pain of not being able to run, the pain of heart failure, the pain of not being able to keep up with anyone on a hike or even a brisk walk.
By avoiding the struggle of discipline in the moment, the struggle of doing the work, of learning, studying, and finishing projects, you ensure the struggle of future poverty.
But that’s not all…
Pain and struggle have greater effects than improving future outcomes.
They improve our brains, they make us feel better about ourselves, they fight off depression and allow us to feel pride in who we are.
You feel better about watching TV if you’ve first gone for a run.
Struggle enables relaxation without shame and guilt, and shame and guilt are very good things.
You should feel shame about wasting a day watching TV, if you don’t, you’re a psycho.
You should feel shame and guilt about not putting away the grocery cart, or cleaning up after yourself, or littering, or making more work for others because of your laziness.
Self-imposed struggle keeps you sane, it enables you to enjoy pleasure without guilt.
On top of all of this, we will have hardship in life that we don’t ask for, that we don’t want, and that we don’t necessarily deserve…
And yet, it enters our lives and we have to come out of the tribulation on top, victorious, and even better, and asking for and adopting daily hardship will train us to be victorious once life thrusts its unwanted hardship upon us.
When you workout you’re not just building a better body, you’re building a tougher mind, one better equipped to deal with the tragedies that life hurls our way.
This hardship or struggle doesn’t have to be anything massive. It simply has to be something you don’t feel like doing.
Take a cold shower..
Go for a run
Clean your room
Make your bed
Do something you don’t feel like doing but in some way benefits you. Taking a cold shower may have healthy benefits, but the greatest benefit is simply that it’s difficult, uncomfortable.
We have insanely comfortable lives.
They’re far too comfortable for our own good. One may even call them non-human lives, in the same way a lion living in a zoo isn’t living a lion’s life.
Depression is higher where struggle is non-existent.
We need struggle because struggling is a part of being human. It’s in our nature to struggle.
That, in part, is why we aim higher than where we currently are. We need the struggle that improvement provides.
We need to see what we’re capable of.
While we’re on lockdown, while we’re relegated to our own homes, don’t forget that you NEED to struggle, and not just for your own success, but for your sanity.
Get after it.
P.S. Struggling gets your mind right, and so does Man Brain. It’s packed full of the strongest brain-boosting nutrients nature can provide, to keep you focused, to improve memory and fight cognitive decline, but also to improve mood.