“Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell.
Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT — and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell.
If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.” – Adm. McRaven
If I were to ask of you to knock at a wall until it turns into a door, what would you do? What would you say to me? What would you think of the situation itself?
Pretty ridiculous, right?
No person in their right mind would ever attempt such a thing. Yet life often provides us with such walls. Granted, we tend to build them ourselves. But sometimes they’re built by those around us. We are constantly being told how the world works, what is our place in it, and what rules must be obeyed.
We are told what can be done, what can’t, what shouldn’t even be attempted.
So, yes, a lot of times in life you get to be in front of a wall, and all that you want is on the other side. And you cannot climb over it, walk around it…
And you must knock until it turns into a door…
That’s all you can do. Persist in doing what you know deep in your heart to be the right action, resist the temptation to give up.
Make use of your suffering.
This is the part that we so often forget when we wish for future comfort to such an extent that hope and fear merge into one. Or when we become attached to what can never be again.
We forget that life is pain.
We either make use of the pain that we’re constantly being dealt, or we try to escape it with addiction and bad habits and complaining…
One strengthens the character, the other one diminishes it.
Believe me, the pain does not go away.
I have spent 7 years of my life wishing away medical conditions that kept me physically weak. Conditions that inhibited me from eating proper food, or smiling, or having the required self-confidence to look people in the eye. Yet, when the situation got fixed, it didn’t drastically change the way I viewed myself.
Soon, I found other flaws, faults, defects…
So many times I had to struggle financially, to try to make due with a couple bucks a week, to eat once a day, and I’d dream of the so-called financial freedom that I’d attain…
Had it. And it fueled my anxiety. It made me want to huddle in a corner, pull a blanket over myself, and watch Youtube videos until the end of time.
This is why the things we dream about and wish for are never, ever as beautiful when we do get them as they are inside our minds.
Comfort is not as comfortable as we imagine it to be.
Make use of your pain, for you will never, ever be free from it.
I’m thinking of using a cheesy metaphor: the one about the baby who cries when it is born.
The pain we feel reminds us that we are alive.
That’s one of the many meanings of pain. The burn we feel in our muscles when we work out means that we’re growing stronger. The pain we feel after being abandoned by a lover means that we won’t become so attached the next time we fall in love.
Life is pain. Yes. But without it, you’d be dead.
And if pain is the price one must pay in order to be alive, then we must persist and resist for as long as we can. In order to be great, to inspire, to aspire, to create, to fight, to overcome.
Because this is what it means to be a human being.