Small Pains Lead To Big Gains

If there was only one thing that I am sure of more than anything, it would be:

Everybody is going through some sort of small pain in their lives.

Surely, the amount of pain differs depending on the person and their circumstances – but we are all faced with it. In fact, we tend to make most of our decisions on a daily basis based on the fact that we don’t want to go through pain any more. And as a result, we opt-in for quick pleasures instead.

Have you ever avoided doing important work (small pain) so that you can browse Facebook? Or skipped the gym (small pain) to hang out with friends?

These are both instances where you would choose to avoid the pain (even if it’s better for you) in order to go the easy way out (only to regret it later on).

As an example, I spent the better half of today walking around the streets of Singapore to avoid the pain of having to sit myself down and start writing this blog post – even though I know that writing this blog post is better for me.

In fact – I often find myself (on a daily basis) eating too much, sleeping too late, embracing loved ones too little, and avoiding the gym altogether…

And although these decisions we make in order to avoid the pain might seem small, the fact is that they tend to compound over time and cause us problems long term.

Which begs the question – how do you develop and foster the discipline to embrace the small pains instead of giving in to quick pleasures?

And what type of abundance can we find in doing so?

In the 1950s, a young man named Jim Rohn spent the first two decades of his life making a decent living working at a company, as most people do. He had a ‘normal’ job and put in just enough effort so that he wouldn’t get fired.

After all... 

... why go through the pain of putting in more work than you are required to?

Every day he would go to work, do what needs to be done – and come back home to his wife and kids. As you can imagine, earning a decent wage is hardly the ideal situation for anyone – and having a family and bills to pay can make anyones financial situation tight… especially if you are the bread winner.

Until one day, presumably on his day off – he heard a knock on the door.

It was a girl scout.

Her eyes filled with wonder and her spirit ready to take on the world.

‘Hi sir, would you like to buy some fresh cookies? They’re only two bucks’.

Jim pointed to the cupboard inside the house and very quietly said…

‘No no, that’s fine – I actually just bought some this morning’.

As he closed the door, and walked back inside with his head tilted downwards and his shoulders slumped forward – he couldn’t believe what he had just done.

He had just lied to a girl scout because he couldn’t afford a box of cookies.

A box of cookies that cost two bucks.

In fact, his financial situation was so bad that he hadn’t delivered any of the promises that he had made to his wife before they had gotten married.

And naturally, this will make any man feel… well – less of a man.

Jim had had enough, and because of that he decided that he needed to make drastic changes in his life if he wanted to live up to the standards his family expected of him. So instead of trying to change everything at once, he decided to start small and focus on embracing all of the small pains that he would have previously dismissed.

Instead of leaving work at five, as was required – he would put in the extra hours and prove to the company that he was the most valuable assets out there.

Instead of hanging out with friends on the weekend... 

... he would read all the books he could find.

Instead of giving in to the cake, he would take walks around the block.

And slowly but surely – Jim chose to embrace the small pains instead of the quick pleasures and made the decision to work towards more awesome version of himself… one that understands the true power self discipline.

And because of that, he was able to go from where he was (unable to buy a box of cookies for two bucks) to millionaire within the next five years.

In fact – he would go on to become one of the worlds most renowned and successful personal development speakers & business leaders in the world.

These stories are nothing new, and we often hear about the friend who shed the pounds in just a couple of months – or the struggling mom who was able to completely change her fortune in a short amount of time… but what most of us forget is that there is a dramatic shift in the way these people think, and a lot of it has to do with no longer choosing to ignore the small pains.

And if you feel like you are in a place where you’d like to do the same, to overcome the challenge of giving in to quick pleasures...

... here are a few things you should consider:

A. Chunking

The important thing to understand is that no one will ever expect you to change everything at once. In fact, that can be extremely counter productive as the rate of failure is much higher. Instead, you can use the art of chunking – which is to break things down into different sections and to tackle them one at a time.

As an example, if you wanted to lose weight and shed the fat – instead of going cold turkey and eating nothing but apples, you would start by simply skipping dinner. A couple of months later, you would quit sodas altogether.

Etc… etc…

And in due time, each one of these different elements will undoubtedly transform themselves into habits that you can easily keep under control.

B. Consider the Future

The hardest part about embracing the small pains in order to make a drastic difference in your life is the fact that there are no immediate rewards. Wheras when you give in to the quick pleasures (for example, chocolate cake) – there is an immediate satisfaction that comes right after you act on the decision.

And because of this, it becomes a lot easier to completely dismiss the small pains. Afterall, it would take months – maybe even years before you see any sort of results if you were to dedicate yourself to making any sort of lasting change in your life. Which is why it is so important to consider the future.

How will your life be in the next five years if you stay on the same path?

What would happen if you started to, one-by-one… embrace the small pains?

Considering the future and understanding the type of affect your decisions will have on your life is the most powerful way to inspire yourself to take action.

At the end of the day – we all want the rock hard abs, the water front property, and all of the finer things that life has to offer… but the simple fact is that these things come with a hefty price to pay. And choosing to embrace the small pains in order to submit yourself to self-discipline is the first step you need to take in order to become a better, more awesome YOU!

Of course, and as always – this is a reminder for myself first.

I am far more flawed than I would like to admit.

And hopefully we can work together to make drastic differences in our lives.