Pushing Past the Pain Towards our Purpose

One of the best investments I’ve made 13 years ago. And it has served me well.

Growing up, I was told I was very sick. I couldn’t do sports. I couldn’t play rough. I couldn’t do anything that would get me really exhausted. It’s the reason I ended up learning to play the piano.

Realizing that the things others said I couldn’t do was preventing me from growing, I decided I had enough. I joined the army reserve training in my university days. And was I in for a big surprise. First weekend of training, we were told to run around the university campus – a distance of 2.2 km. I’ve never done that before. But if I were to survive the first weekend of training, I needed to do it.

Surrounded by 30 people in my batch, we ran. Those were the most grueling 50 minutes of my life. For an entire week, my legs hurt. My entire body hurt. Even my arms hurt. I didn’t know your arms could hurt from running. And knowing that another weekend of intense physical training was just a few days ahead, I wanted to quit. Besides, everyone told me I was sick when I was a kid. I had all the reasons to bail out.

But I didn’t. I persisted. I pushed thru. I ended up doing a lot of physical activities throughout my university days. I didn’t do sports. But I chose to run. Because it was proof that I can push past the limitations that people place on me.

These days, I run in spite of the titanium rod in my right leg. When my therapist told me it would take months to fully heal, I decided to push myself physically. I hiked and climbed mountains when I can. I ran on uneven roads when I can. I can still feel a bit of pain in my right leg where the screws were attached. Yet I still do it.

Because growth only happens thru pain.

The irony of life is that we live in a world where we all want to avoid pain – at all cost. If there’s an easy way out, we take it. We look for shortcuts. The easy road to an easy life. If something is uncomfortable, we avoid it. If the task is too hard, we excuse ourselves from it.

If only we learn to accept pain as part of our road to greatness. That challenge that we have been avoiding all our life might just be the thing that can lead us down the path to greatness.

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