Estimated Reading Time | 4 Minutes
Last week, I had a conversation with someone about my self-development ventures. I explained to them how I wake up at 5.30am every morning and have an icy cold shower. I told them how I run in the stark English winter and hit the gym to deadlift, rain or shine.
I was met with a confused expression. “You must be addicted to pain,” they replied.
It was a psychologically damning assessment like Sigmund Freud has just given me the once over, slapped me across the face and told me to get the f*ck out.
And they weren’t the first to say this.
Has anyone ever said this to you since starting your self-development journey? Or perhaps you’ve even thought that about someone else?
‘You’re addicted to pain.’ There was something in this statement that got me thinking. Am I in pursuit of pain as some masochistic, trivial pleasure? Am I like one of those fetish guys who likes being whipped in a gimp mask while grating his teeth as electrodes shock his balls?
After a few days it dawned on me. I had a mini epiphany. I realized the question could be flipped:
Are you addicted to comfort?
I challenge the cynics, the doubters and the people who don’t understand why others willingly push themselves into the pain zone — people like David Goggins, dubbed ‘the hardest man alive’ who forced himself through ultramarathons where men have died, compression taping his ankles up and ignoring the excruciating pain of stress fractures.
I challenge these people to give up their comfort addiction and go through pain, because there’s something far greater that awaits you on the other side.
As Seth Godin states:
Why Be Addicted To Pain?
Too many people plod along, comfortable. What they fail to see is that pain is often necessary in the pursuit of salvation and liberation from your own perceived limitations.
Without pain, you will never understand that pushing yourself through the icy daggers of a cold shower for a month leads to a state where cold feels comfortable, even pleasurable.
A point where your immune system is stronger than ever and every morning you feel like you’ve had a double dose of dopamine and adrenaline all rolled into one — ready to tackle the day with power and vigor.
Without pain, you will never understand that waking up at 5.30am and forcing yourself out of the comfortable confines of cosy covers to be greeted by the chilly morning eventually leads to a new-found zest for life.
A point where you wake up naturally at 5.29am and turn off the alarm before it starts, feeling fresh and rested.
A point where you smell the morning air, listen to the dawn chorus of grateful birds and watch the orange sun rise over the horizon while feeling like you’re part of the world and all its beauty as it slowly awakes.
A state of satisfaction knowing you’re ahead of the game and you’re getting sh*t done while everybody sleeps. And you’re going to bed and resting while others sit up late, mindlessly scrolling on their iPhones.
And without pain, you will never understand that the daily frustration of trying to meditate and block out the myriad of thoughts running through your head will eventually lead to a calm and peaceful mind.
Without the challenge of trying to catch your mind as it obsessively thinks, as your thoughts run wild like startled rabbits, as your concentration slips like sand running through the cracks of your fingers — you will never know true liberation.
You will never know the joy of mastering your mind in meditation and that feeling of complete calm and emptiness.
You will never experience your brain being light as a feather, like it’s being lifted towards the stars.
You will never know the nourishment of the breathe as it flows freely through you without strain, making you feel more alive than you’ve ever felt.
If you’re addicted to comfort you shall live with the pain of never truly experiencing these elevated pleasures.
You will never experience the satisfaction of pushing through pain and embracing the process of growth.
I urge the people who think I’m addicted to pain: Give up your comfort addiction today and try a little pain, otherwise you’ll never know truly how great it can feel.
Check out my latest self-development challenges here and try a little pain!