Today I want to get introspective about something I heard recently that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. The quote comes out of Mark Manson's "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" and goes like this:
A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
What are you willing to struggle for? That quote hit me hard. What am I willing to struggle for? What kind of pain am I willing to embrace? Is it the same pain that is required of my desires? My dreams and aspirations? This one definitely isn't easy to answer and requires some thought.
But here's the thing - I'm a CrossFit athlete and I'm assuming most of you are too if you are reading this - we suffer by choice. Suffering doesn't scare me and I doubt it scares you either. So let's re-frame the question to figure out what we really care about. What am I currently suffering for, and what do I want but not willing to suffer for?
In the gym I'll bust my ass with the best of them. I'll work for 2 hours straight, but I'm too "lazy" to do the little things - the drills & skill work, the mobility, the pre-hab stuff that is super important but super tedious. When it comes to nutrition, I prep all of my food, I track throughout the week, but come the weekend I don't seem to care any more. I'd rather be enjoying myself with friends and family.
So as much as I tell myself I want to have a six pack and be the best athlete as I possibly can, its clearly not a priority to me. I'm willing to get uncomfortable (train and log food), but I'm not willing to suffer - I'm not willing to do the really shitty stuff like say no to social events and put in the extra mobility time. I don't think its right or wrong, it just is what it is.
So then what am I willing to suffer for? What am I truly passionate about? Now it's easy for me to tell: my true priorities are my work - I'm willing to get up 4:30am every day to plan and maximize my day. I'm willing to do the routine and mundane stuff that is extremely boring because I know it will push my business forward. I'm willing to sacrifice weekends to go to CrossFit events because that's what I truly care about.
But hold on, we haven't even gotten to the interesting part yet. What really intrigues me is what happens when what we THINK we are passionate about doesn't line up with what we truly ARE passionate about? I tell myself I want to get to 10% body fat and I want to be a top level athlete, but the proof is in the pudding - I'm not willing to do what it takes. I'm willing to bet you can find a thing or two as well.
Well it seems to me that there are two options: The first option is to figure out why you think you want something so bad in the first place. Figure out that why so when it comes time to struggle for it you don't think twice; you just know you have to do it. You want to do it. You embrace it. The second option is to just forget it. Stop stressing out about something that clearly isn't that important to you. If it doesn't happen, who cares? You'll still feel great because that stress is out of your life and that's a pretty big win right there.