Choosing the Pain of Growth


Say you strike up a conversation with someone you have never met before at a coffee shop.  You ask, “What’s a typical day like for you?”

They respond by saying, “I go to work.  I go to the gym.  I spend time with my family.  And I also make it a point to spend an hour a day doing something I really don’t want to do.”

This strikes you as slightly odd, so you inquire as to why and they say, “Haven’t you heard, ‘no pain, no gain’?  Haven’t you heard that discomfort is the only way to get beyond your comfort zone?  Haven’t you heard that all people who succeed constantly struggle to do it?”

How would this explanation seem to you?

The guy in the above example is coming from the idea that discomfort and pain leads to growth.

And it can.  Just think of the personal growth of a runner finishing her first marathon, a runner who two years ago doubted that she could even run two miles.

However, discomfort and pain can also lead to personal contraction.

For example, if I told myself, “Now, Jason, you have to write out each of your blogs longhand.  In addition, every time you see a new correction you want to make, you have to write the whole thing out again.  What you need to do, Jason, is write your blogs out longhand again and again until they are perfect.  Only then can you type them up.  This way you will learn to be perfect, Jason.”  (I’m finding it somewhat odd that I’m choosing at this point to talk about myself in third person.)

Now I’m much faster at typing than I am at writing longhand.  Writing blogs again and again longhand until they were perfect would probably take me sixteen hours a day and be very uncomfortable and even painful.

Would I experience personal growth of some sort?   There’s a chance.  But far more likely, I would experience personal contraction as I gave up yoga, social contact, cleaning my apartment, and basically the rest of my life in order to write-out blogs longhand.  Ridiculous, right?

To grow we need to become skilled at choosing discomfort and occasional pain that promotes our personal growth rather than discomfort and pain that promotes our personal contraction. 

When we were kids it was easy to tell if we were growing.  We grew taller.  This could be quickly measured with a yardstick.

For adults, personal growth is often harder to measure.  As we saw in the above examples, discomfort and pain can be associated with either personal growth OR personal contraction.

Maybe, the feelings surrounding the discomfort and pain could be an important indicator of whether or not we are in fact experiencing personal growth.

Although the marathon runner feels discomfort and pain during the marathon, she also feels the joy and wonder of accomplishing something she has never done before and then experiences the utter thrill of finishing.

Whereas, the feelings surrounding the discomfort and pain of writing my blogs out again and again until they were perfect would lead me to experience frustration that the process was taking all my time, loneliness from missing social interactions, and more frustration that my home was so dirty because I was devoting all my time to writing blogs out longhand.

Basically the pain and discomfort that the marathon runner experienced would help her to feel powerful and good about herself, whereas my hypothetical-harebrained-writing-blogs-out-longhand idea would lead me to feel powerless and miserable about myself.

As I write this, I’m becoming more and more amazed at how vast the difference between pains of personal growth and the pains of personal contraction can be.

So when you choose to experience pain and discomfort be sure that it’s actually taking you in the direction of your growth.

Game of the Day

How will you determine when you are experiencing pains of personal growth versus pains of personal contraction?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

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The Reason I Write The Heroic Yes! Blog

I write this blog because I have listened intently to countless teachers and learned from them.  I so appreciate what they have given me.

Could I’ve found my path of healing and transformation without my many teachers?  Hardly!

Saying that, did I always apply what I learned?  Of course not!  Some of what I learned didn’t resonate with my desires at the time.  Some seemed over my head.   Some seemed overwhelming.   Some seemed like just plain too much work.

But I applied enough of what I learned from my teachers to design my own unique way to heal and transform my life. 

I’m able to write what you are reading now because so many teachers took the time to share their wisdom with me.

The intention I hold as I pen these blogs is that they will provide you with ideas to apply to your life, ideas that will fuel your success, add to your joy and inspire you to go for your dreams.

It’s of course up to you to decide which of these ideas to apply and which to let go of, for within you, you hold the priceless knowledge of how best to create your life.

Inspiration for writing these blogs comes to me because I know that it’s possible to learn from each other.  I’ve learned from so many, and now I’m honored to pass this collection of wisdom, combined with my personal life experience on to you.

Writing is also part of my profession.  As such, I envision that these blogs will open up opportunities for me that are financially rewarding.  My intention is to be the best teacher I can be.  And just like a professor who loves to teach also earns money for his work, I need to be responsible for letting my writing become a way to draw financial abundance into my life.

Finally, I write these blogs because I love to write and I love to teach.  I love how interesting life is.  I love how many opportunities we have to learn and grow. I love how free we are to develop the skills to create our dreams.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Plan Out Your Drama

I have been known from time to time to become fixated on minor circumstances that I don’t like.  I then have been known to use these circumstances as an excuse to create high drama for those around me and myself.  (High drama, as I’m using it here, involves worry, anxiety, possible arguments and general frustration.)

Can you relate?  If so, think of the last time you created high drama out of a minor circumstance.

Today as I was on the verge of creating high drama, I thought, “When we feel ourselves itching to create high drama, why not script it out like they do in the movies?”

This idea sounded fun!  Check it out- we could script out our highly dramatic part, and other people’s parts as they responded to our drama.  We could even add in emotional cues.  This would be our DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.

Then for comparison, we could write a script that was absent of the high drama that we are contemplating creating.   This would be our DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT.

Finally, we could compare the scripts and decide which we preferred.

As an example, I’ll give you a brief background of the high drama I was contemplating creating yesterday, followed by a few lines of my DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.  Then, I will share a few lines from my DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT.

Ok, here it goes.  Drum roll please!!!  (It’s good to be dramatic when you are about to create a DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT).

Background:

On a dark and stormy Saturday night in a Mexican Restaurant at about 9:05 and 10 seconds, I noticed an unexplained black spot about the circumference of a pen cap on my left thumb.  Now common sense told me that there was a 99.99% chance that this mysterious spot was no big deal.  However, my sometimes-hypochondriac imagination darkly entertained me with different ideas.

A few lines from my DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT:

Jason Freeman (with a super concerned look on his face asks everyone he meets):  “What do you think this spot on my thumb could possibly mean?  Should I go to a dermatologist?  Should I go to the emergency room?  Why me?  Why poor me?”

First person Jason meets (sensing Jason’s distress and wanting to comfort him):  “Oh Jason, it’s nothing.”

Second person Jason meets (wanting to be on the safe side):  “Jason you should definitely make an appointment to see a dermatologist.”

Third person Jason meets (annoyed by Jason’s over-dramatic nature):   “Jason get a life!”

A few lines of my DRAMA FREE SCRIPT:

Jason Freeman (Our proud hero takes courage, believes the black spot on his thumb is a tiny blood blister and boldly asks everyone he meets):  “What has been amazing about your day?”

Person 1:  Says something cool.

Person 2:  Says something cool.

Person 3:  Says something cool.

Conclusion of this episode:

The mysterious black spot did end up being a tiny blood blister, which popped while our dashing hero, Jason Freeman, was washing dishes.

And Everyone Lived Happily Ever After.

The key to writing your DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT is to have fun and to go a little overboard on the drama.  And have a great time writing your DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT too.  Then after composing your two scripts, you will be able to make a more informed choice as to whether you want to create high drama or not.

Game of the Day

The next time you feel yourself working up to creating high drama out of a minor (or major) circumstance, follow these four simple steps as soon as possible:

  1. Create your DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.
  2. Create your DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT
  3. Read both scripts and decide which one you like better.
  4. Act out the script you like the best.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Live Happily Ever After Right Now

Sharon Salzberg poses the question, “What do I really need right now to be happy?”

As I write this, I’m discovering that this question can be challenging.

This morning I resolved to be happy all day.  I’ve had a wonderful day being happy, but now at 9:52 pm, I’m facing a dilemma that is challenging my resolve.  I’ve committed myself to the task of writing this blog post on creating happiness. Instead of feeling giddy about it, I’m feeling stressed about composing it.  I’m also feeling tired, as in I feel like going to bed right now.  What a promising start to a blog post about creating happiness!

 Are you facing any tasks today that you just don’t want to do?

One option for creating happiness right now would be to completely avoid the task at hand.   If I employed this option, I would shut down my computer immediately and crawl into bed.

Can you relate to this option?

This type of happiness would bring a kind of instant relief similar to what a runner might feel when quitting a marathon at mile fifteen.  The disadvantage of creating happiness in this way is that it can come with a high future cost that might lead to discontentment.  For example, if I chose this option, when I awoke tomorrow, I might well be unhappy that I still had this blog post to write.

A second option would be to completely ignore the idea of creating happiness right now and settle for misery.  I could choose to be miserable the whole time I work to complete this blog post on happiness.

How often do you employ this option to get things done that you really don’t want to do?

The third option is to answer Salzberg’s question as a way of completing the task at hand in a joyful manner.  This option is fun because it involves creativity.

For example, what I really need to be happy right now is to approach writing this blog entry with a new frame of mind.  To accomplish this, I’m going to create an “I love list.”

  1. I love that I have a blog to write for.
  2. I love creating happiness.
  3. I love to write… and my list could go on.

As you do the task that you don’t want to do, how will you answer Salzberg’s question?

Once we create a way to be happy while completing the task we would rather avoid, the task becomes easier.  Once the task is done we have more opportunities to be happy: happy that we are finished with the task, happy with the work we did, happy with the freedom to move on with our day.

Living happily ever after right now can be a challenge.  Even when writing about creating happiness, I discovered that I still needed to play at creating happiness.

But the amazing reward is as we build our capacity to create happiness no matter what circumstances or tasks we face, we give others and ourselves the gift of our happiness.

Game Of The Day

What do you really need right now to be happy?