Removing Pain is Our Greatest Mistake
Pain is in the river of life. Pain is progress. 99% of the time, when we are given pain, we have a choice to grit our teeth and push on through or we can retreat to our normal comfort zone. But 1% of the time, we have no choice but to grit their teeth and push on through. Or should I say, there is a choice, and if that person chooses comfort, it becomes the winding road of decay leading to death.
Those extreme 1% cases are things like getting a dreaded diagnosis of cancer, a non-treatable disease, loss of a child or a parent or spouse, or divorce to name a few. It can be a severe accident that causes a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury. There are many people daily, that find themselves in one of those situations. Then there are those people that are in the other 99% category in which pain is fairly minor in comparison, yet they can’t seem to move forward and are paralyzed in the process overthinking the what if’s, not knowing what to do, how to handle it, or simply want to take the easy road of less pain and not move forward through it.
For our son Nash, and his near-deadly event, his mindset was there was “not a choice” and he had to fight like hell and move forward. But at the end of the day, he truly had a choice. He could either choose to not be a victim, be relentless, persevere, and fight forward, or he could give up and die or be paralyzed. And moving forward meant he had to endure some of the most severe pain known to man.
To complicate it further, his parents had to watch the whole time, only able to give words of encouragement and coach from the sidelines. As parents, it is human nature to want to take their pain away for them not to endure. We often take action so that our child unknowingly takes the easy road of comfort as we, as a parent, intentionally take on the pain for them. This is where we commit the largest parenting mistake of our child’s life. Taking away the pain from anyone as they experience adversity falsely arms them with the true inability to face adversity and march through it. Hence the term “snowflake”! Snowflakes were created by parents not allowing their children to experience pain and adversity. You may not think you have raised a snowflake, but have you taken over responsibility for your children in any way? Have you done their homework for them when the deadline is near? Have you allowed them to get away with not doing chores? Have you backed off an original reprimand that you put in place for them behaving inappropriately? Have you allowed them to quit something mid-project or midterm or midseason or mid-job because you disagreed with the teacher, coach, leader, or employer?
At the end of the day, true lasting human growth and development occurs in pain. True progress is made by those stepping out of their comfort zone and doing something they have never done before. Warriors are made in the valleys when others choose to believe they are always on the peaks. Highly successful people are made by doing things that are uncomfortable every day while mediocre people rarely step out of their comfort zone. Leaders are made by having successful, uncomfortable conversations when others avoid them. Successful parents raising great adults allow their children to endure pain routinely, while others fly around in their helicopter daily.
Pain is the 10th wonder of the world! Enduring true pain creates the best leaders in our world. This is why our Navy Seals are some of our biggest modern-day heroes. Navy Seals are trained to know that when they reach their highest pain tolerance threshold, meaning mentally they think they “can’t take any more”, they have another 40% “in their tank” to endure even more pain to survive. Those that graduate from Seal training, they do, they endure, while others fail out.
Pain and adversity is a river of life. Some choose the rapids and navigate the river painfully yet successfully while others choose the calm smooth comfortable river gaining nothing mentally or physically along the way. It’s an intentional choice. We must understand that the greatest things in life are achieved by defeating pain and gritting through adversity along the way. Comfort is the enemy of progress. Pain is the breath of true growth and progress. The choice is a matter of meaningful life or mediocrity or even a slow decaying death. What will your choice be as a person or as a parent?