I Hope This Hurts: 5 Reasons to Look Forward to Painful Experiences

learning from painful experiencesWe all have experienced pain in our lives: physical, emotional, psychological, nagging, and excruciating.  But experiencing pain is normal.  In fact, not experiencing pain can lead to greater damage since we wouldn’t know when to pull back or change our approach.

Without pain we would not experience the same world as we do with it.

5 Reasons to Look Forward to Pain

  1. It invigorates us.

    Pain can create clarity.  It sharpens the senses.  Pain is something we don’t want to repeat so we focus on it.  I recently watched an episode of Mythbusters where they tested the myth that slapping someone will bring them to their senses, and they actually showed an improvement in mental faculties after being slapped.  Pain brings us into “fight or flight” and our bodies respond with vigor.

  2. It teaches us.

    We learn from pain.  Pain is one of the best teachers we have as a child.  The best illustration is touching a hot stove: immediate feedback; lesson learned.  But it can apply in the business world as well.  A painful experience will help us to prioritize and put systems in place to prevent that pain from reoccurring.

  3. We appreciate the lack of pain when it is not prevalent.

    The dichotomy of life.  There is no good without evil, no black without white, no pleasure without pain.  We learn to appreciate the pain-free moments because we have experienced the pain.

  4. It creates character.

    We are more diverse because of our pain.  We can also empathize with others because we better understand their situation when we have experienced it ourselves.  It makes us stronger people and better people.

  5. It gives us creativity.

    Art, music, invention are all children of pain.  Many of the world’s most beautiful creations are results of painful experiences.  We find them beautiful because we have also experienced the pain that influenced the brushstroke or the chord progression.  Pain evokes emotion.

So, no matter the temptation, don’t run from a painful experience.  Instead, learn from it.  Don’t avoid something because it will be painful.  Some of the best work had been painful for the people who complete it.  But in hindsight, the most painful work completed is usually the most fulfilling.


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