Let’s talk about pain

What I want to talk about today is pain.
It’s something we’re all feeling right now. The pain of job loss and financial stress. The pain as parents and educators struggle with what’s safe and right when it comes to the new school year.
The pain we are feeling is real. It hurts. It’s hard to live through. It’s making us angry and it’s dividing us and distracting us.
What most people don’t realize is that you will always feel pain. You can’t escape it. But pain gives you a choice. Here’s what it looks like:
  • Do you choose a shortcut that lets you escape your pain?
  • Or do you choose the pain of enduring?
Shortcuts look like fights with your spouse, divisive arguments on social media, drugs and alcohol. These are the wrong things, and they cause more pain—because you have to live with the regret of doing the wrong thing. And that pain never goes away.
The pain of enduring is different. There isn’t the relief of shortcuts and distractions. This pain goes on longer, but it is your passport to a new destination—and on the other side lies purpose and peace.
It takes more mental toughness—your endurance mindset—to choose the pain of endurance, to decide to do the right things when the going gets tough. But the reward is lasting, and it’s worth it.
I know firsthand. Losing my parents to AIDS as a teenager was the most painful thing I could have ever experienced. The loss of my family, their love and security, the life I thought we had, and that I thought they lived, was almost beyond what I could bear. To try to blunt my pain, I made the biggest mistakes of my life, including drinking, doing and selling drugs, chasing women, and trafficking guns. In the end, my choices led to my arrest and a federal trial on gun trafficking charges. Choosing to face my trial with integrity and figuring out how to face my permanent problems and pain with mental toughness and character ultimately delivered me to my life’s purpose.
This too shall pass. It hurts—and it will hurt—but this too shall pass. Will you choose to endure rather than opt for shortcuts that don’t work and leave you feeling regret?
If this helped, check out my new digital course Adversity Creates Purpose. It’s packed with tools and tips to build the kind of mental toughness to carry you through times like these.
Stay positive. Stay healthy. Stay safe. And if I can help, please reach out.

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We’ve visited campuses and organizations across the country to share the secrets of transforming life’s challenges into purpose. See some of these moments.