The Hard Path
“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.”
We have safe guards within our brains that will try and avoid, AT ALL COSTS, any feeling of discomfort or hardship. It's a basic and simple survival tactic within humans.
Seek pleasure, Avoid Pain.
But going through hardship is where true growth happens. Nietzsche in his work, The Will to Power, is essentially trying to explain what motivates us and drives us forward as humans. What this quote expresses is an "opportunity", pure and simple.
Pain and suffering can occur in two ways, either it falls in our lap or we have the courage to pursue the difficult path of hardship.
When you hit rock bottom 1 of 2 things will happen. Either you stand up and pull yourself out, or you stay at the bottom.
My experience with being at the bottom was a painful but rewarding lesson. I did not have a penny to my name, severe tooth pain and had just ended a long-term relationship. It was quite funny looking back because the level of pain that I was experiencing with my tooth, in some strange way, provided the physical context of the feeling I was experiencing with all of these issues going on in my life.
In my most difficult place, I realized one thing about myself, through practicing Muay Thai, my ability to suffer created my ability to endure. Whenever we have conversations about Martial Arts we tend to place far too much emphasis on the "Fighter", and not enough on the holistic qualities that benefit everyone. Like other arts, Martial Arts is an expression. The subject is conflict, the utility of practicing the art, is the ability to develop positive reactions to problems and conflict.
Each time I went to class and trained, I was putting my body through some very difficult experiences, but the feeling I felt once I went through was electrifying. I felt like I had conquered something at the end of each class. Over time, I built up the resolve of being a person that gets through tough times. It was the constant experience of hardship, that built within me the resolve to believe confidently in that statement.
Find A Way
At this point in my life, I came to the realization that life sucked right now. However, I could get through this, I must find a way. Over time, I did just that, I found a way. I dug myself out of the hole of who I was.
Now having the opportunity to look back at who I was. I am a vastly different person, almost to the point that I do not recognize that person I was at that time. It was through the struggle that forced me to be something better to get myself through that time. Albert Einstein is quoted for saying,"It will take a different person to solve the problems you will have to face tomorrow."
I completely agree with this statement. It will most certainly require a different person to solve the problems you will be faced with tomorrow. So seek out moments and experiences that will push you, test you, require you to fail, and fail often. Transformations, and acquisition of skill never come through the easy and safe road. It's only when you challenge yourself, will you see who and what your made of. But one thing is absolutely for certain is that you will be alright, you can endure. Choose the Hard Path.