Pain is a fact of life.
We will have major physical injuries. Our spouses will get fired. Our parents will die.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling this pain. But an extended focus on the pain only makes it worse.
I’ve been extremely frustrated recently with a project I’ve been working on for many months. I thought I had been hiding it pretty well until a friend told me the other day, “wow, you look really stressed.”
I suddenly realized that I’ve been allowing frustration to control me.
Victor Frankl was a concentration camp prisoner in the second world war. The Germans killed his parents and pregnant wife in the camp. The beat and humiliated him every day.
The only thing they couldn’t control was how he responded to their treatment. He knew that if he could control the space between their actions and his reaction he could retain some sense of freedom. This ended up being how he survived.
Almost none of us will experience the sort of trauma Frankl experienced. But so many of us, including me, allow ourselves to be ruled by frustrations, fears, and anger on a daily basis.
I like Tony Robbins‘ approach: fully integrate and experience the pain for 90 seconds, then let it go. He likes to say we can choose to live in a state of distress or we can choose to live in a state of blissful content.
My project? If it works out, great. If not, I’m going to do another one just as exciting.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.