Pain is something we all don’t like. We run from it, avoid it or sometimes try to ignore it. In our diaper days, we did not mind the pain, but as we grew older, it appears we began to focus more on the pain and less on the rewards.
One morning, I watched my 23 month old daughter climb our dining table. In the blink of an eye, she fell before I could catch her and this was not a light fall. You would think that she would learn from that experience, but just a few minutes after, ignoring all my warnings she went at it again. If you have watched toddlers, you would know that a painful experience at what they have set their minds to do, does not stop them from further attempts. Somehow, they try to figure out another way to do it. In fact, most times even when it hurts, they do not cry so that they do not call the attention of adults who would stop them from their ‘brave acts’. Sometimes, it feels like they look at us and wonder, what is wrong with these adults? Just imagine for one second if we stopped toddlers from their attempt to walk each time they fell at it and experienced some pain.
After that experience, I sat and pondered, where did our brave hearts go? Did they shrink as we grew older? If it were an adult, he/she would be unlikely to try that climb again. After all, ‘Experience’ they say is the best teacher! But can it also teach us to fear pain? and does it expand our fears on certain things and prevent us from trying again? I have no doubt that we learn some valuable lessons from experience, but I think the question to ask is, should we always refer to experience for forward movements or should we search for the inner voice within us? If Thomas Edison fixed his gaze on the pain of failing one thousand times, we probably would not have the light bulb today. It is noted that he tried one thousand times before he succeeded. He had one thousand reasons to stop, but he chose to let his inner voice guide him forward, not only his ‘teachers’ from the past.
Like toddlers, if we really want to do something we strongly believe in, we need to stay focused on the ‘WHY’, defy the pain and try again and again. In other words, we may sometimes need to choose the pain. In the words of Colin Powell, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”. I remember the lines in the song by the Late Aaliyah, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again”. I will also add that when you make a mistake, besides dusting yourself up and trying again, stop and examine the process so that when you go at it again, you will know what pitfalls to avoid.
We will go through many situations, some will come with pain and discomfort but if we keep our eyes on the reward, we can look into our inner self and unleash the courage to move on through the pain.
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