OPINION: Lessons to be learnt in the great gym of life
No pain no gain. It’s a phrase normally reserved for the gym, but I feel it’s also true in wider life. I believe it originates from the premise muscle growth can only happen after the muscle itself is damaged through exercise.
According to the website Medicalnewstoday.com, muscle hypertrophy occurs when muscle fibres sustain damage or injury.
So really, growth can only occur after there has been damage.
An oversimplification, yes, but I think you get the gist.
I can also testify through experience that hitting new strength targets at CrossFit requires a certain level of pain and discomfort, both while the exercise occurs and long after with the soreness and aches.
But I believe personal and professional growth also occur within the same parameters.
No pain and no discomfort equals (more often than not) no gain, no promotion, and no advancement.
We live in a society that values comfort above all else, for most for us. We look not only to maintain our levels of comfort but to increase the level at any opportunity.
We see discomfort as something to run away from, to avoid at any cost.
After all, most of us want to be healthy, but do we want to do the work and apply the discipline to achieve a healthy lifestyle?
Most of us want the great beach bod and washboard abs, but only a tiny handful will be prepared for the pain and discomfort that would actually involve.
How many of us would jump at the chance of owning and operating our own business?
Running our dream cafe, shop or other business? But who would be prepared for the slog it would involve? Who would be willing to work all the hours needed and make the sacrifices even to get it off the ground?
I cast my mind back to when my kids were very young, when literally everything and every new experience was a first.
When all they did was learn to eat, walk, talk and so on.
These are all learnt through the experience of discomfort: scrapes on their knees, face plants on the lawn — the list goes on and on.
Imagine if they gave up after the first sign of discomfort and pain.
What’s the alternative, to curl up in the fetal position and crave the comfort of the womb?
Discomfort is good.
It is something we should welcome and see as normal.
It shows us we are moving forward, we are learning and advancing.
If you want something, you need to go out and get it.
You need to be prepared to take the hits, to take the pain.
Surround yourself with people who look forward and take small steps — literally or figuratively.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and a marathon isn’t run in 10 minutes.
No pain, no gain. No discomfort, no advancement.
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