Choices Discipline Growth Life Mindset

Choose your pain

Living life is a matter of which pain you choose. Avoiding pain is not an option. It’s choosing the pain that best serves your purpose. 

A life without pain is impossible.

Every human being on this planet will go through pain at some point in their life.

We may experience death, sickness, violence, accidents, wars, relationship issues, get fired, be discriminated against, get bullied, etcetera, etcetera.

Pain is simply inevitable. 

If you’re heavy, you will have pain. If you want to stay fit, you will have pain.

If you’re lazy, you will have pain. If you’re a workaholic, you will have pain.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Accepting that truth might be the most challenging part of going through pain. 

Why is this happening to me, you might think. Well, it happens to all of us.

Yes, some of us are more lucky than others, but they, too, will have to deal with pain. Some of it we may not see.

Those who worry excessively about what the world thinks of them will do everything to hide their pain from you.

Too shameful. Too painful.

But the pain is there.

It’s your choice what you want to do with the pain. 

My offer here is that when you accept that you won’t get out from experiencing pain, you might as well embrace it.

I know from experience that embracing pain is the hardest part.

We’re human beings, and our nature is to avoid and walk away from it.

Until you can’t avoid it anymore.

When your health starts to suffer from not living a healthy life, and a sudden and early death is the most likely option, you may choose a different pain to survive.

The pain of exercising, eating healthier, and eating less. The pain of having discipline and choosing exercise over doing something less good for your body. And the pain of eating healthy over eating comfort foods.

That’s the choice. You always have a choice. 

It’s a matter of which pain you choose. Avoiding pain is not an option. It’s choosing the pain that best serves your purpose. 

Another way to put it is you are giving your pain an upgrade that you’re replacing one problem with a better problem. 

The pain of discipline is less than the pain of bad health or no money.

So what do you want?

Like for many aspects of life, that question also applies to the pain you’re going to choose.

When I decided to start running, I was driven to lose weight and eat healthier.

I upgraded my pain and found a better problem to have.

I remember coming back from a business trip filled with late evenings and multi-course meals, accompanied by alcohol, little sleep, and no exercise.

When I came home and looked in the mirror, I confronted myself:

“No more.”

Sometimes, the best changes in life come from stacking negative experiences on negative experiences.

Until there’s a defining moment of no more.

A moment that’s so inevitable that there’s no turning back.

That’s when I chose a different pain.

Your turn: which pain needs to be upgraded?


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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