Don’t Ever, Ever Ring The Bell

“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.


  1. Beautifully said and written. Yet, if the pain is for everyone, I think it’s difficult to see that my own struggles can be of any value for other, or to myself. It’s just things I like to bury, forget, to move away from. And also, it would be great to have the tools to make “use” of the struggles, to make them into something meaningful or something of value…. Well, random thoughts on a Saturday 😏 Wishing you a happy weekend!☺️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Love it! Great theme, and the opening quote and pain concepts remind me of the movie G.I. Jane. Good stuff.

    I’m with you on this. I “don’t waste trouble,” and I “don’t allow fear to be kidnapped by anxiety to then be distorted into becoming afraid.” I feel fear is a wonderfully informative and instinctive navigational tool that basically says, “Are you sure?,” “Hey, notice that,” and/or “DUCK!” I find pain and fear to be similar to sentries on watch. They protect us by enhancing our radar in context, wherever that is. And, fear is also like flashing lights and warning signs on the highway that may indicate part of the bridge is out up ahead or other hazard. So, you mind the “fear” signs, and navigate accordingly. You can blast right through the cones and signs, etc., though then that’s all on you unless your car has wings.

    Like in the movie G.I. Jane when the Master Chief yells out, “Good. You’re feeling pain. And, you know what the best thing about pain is?” Response from the BUDS in training “What’s the best thing about pain, Master Chief” “The best thing about pain is, it lets you know you’’re still alive!”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. There’s a few many truths in what you wrote. We all want pain to go away and then when it does, we forget it all too soon until the next . Many of us learn over time that the pain was only temporary and meant to serve a greater purpose. Thanks for letting us in on some of your hard times and tough moments, I can so relate to those situations as i’ve had a few of those times myself. But i’ve learnt so much and i’m using them to help many others endure differently. These are valuable life lessons and i’m glad to be passing them on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Living in denial can also become a way of “escape”. The biggest lesson I learned from my last heartbreak was that I’d rather be the one that hurts than the one who feels nothing at all. And so in a small insignificant way, this made me feel like I didn’t lose so much after all. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Nadia,

      I love that: “I’d rather be the one that hurts than the one who feels nothing at all.”

      Pain and heartbreak can teach us some valuable lessons. Feeling nothing at all? There’s no reason for us to change. Apathy is what they pave the road to hell with. At least a fair chunk of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When you get accustomed to taking pain it gives you a sense of achievement, and achievements and hard work always brings enjoyment. You can enjoy a good sleep only if have worked hard throughout the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post. True, True! Pain is experience, to run away from it is to run away from the very thing we came to face. I particularly love the part when you talk about knocking on a wall until it becomes a door. Persistence melts away the wall. It takes a special person to face the wall until that type of magic happens, especially when you consider how everyone around them is screaming how crazy they are… That is until the door appears! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well Put Cristian, I’ve never seen or read something sum up the human condition so well and so matter a factly. As in this post. Pain is certainly a teacher and allows you to know in many cases you’re headed in the right direction. Afterall what’s that cliche expression?
    “No Pain, No Gain”.
    I think to my own life and some of the hardest obstacles I faced. I realize that without that adversity and the grit to face it head on and accomplish the goal Set out to complete. It’s very Possible I wouldn’t be where I am today, with the insights and the understandings gained during said adversities.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Inspiring discussion! I appreciate the words of Admiral McRaven about DEAL training. Those same words certainly can be applied to life in general. Sometimes in athletics, I have heard a coach call out, “No pain, no gain.” One must be willing to make necessary sacrifices to attain a level of excellence .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are right when we embrace the suffering, it becomes less pronounced; upon acceptance, learning to overcome it becomes easier too and isn’t that what makes us human as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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