What are you willing to struggle for?
In his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k, Mark Manson asked, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?”
I think most of us can’t honestly answer that question. I think it takes years of contemplation or actually having already struggled to know the answer with any level of conviction and certainty.
That said, just because you are willing to struggle for a cause or for a purpose does not mean your life has to be a struggle.
I often tell my kids I wish I could hand them a digestable capsule that contained the experiences and lessons learned from my last 35 years – all ground up into tiny bits for rapid consumption. Of course, that can’t happen in 2022.
However, its still important to help people we love and people we work with know that it is most definitely possible to compartmentalize the pain often required to achieve something worthwhile. I spent years neglecting life’s priorities – my health, my family, even my values at times when exhaustion created periods of weakness – because I couldn’t separate the challenges I endured building a company from all of the rest of it.
The sacrifices I made did not, in the end, make me more effective at achieving my business goals. The sacrifices did not make my company or my existence as a human being more purposeful. Exercising, learning to meditate, taking 15 minutes to play the piano every day, reading, talking to an old friend – all of those things would have actually contributed to a peace of mind that would have provided better perspective on the problems I’ve been trying to solve through business all of these years.
I encourage people to find purpose in their work life and personal lives. Deep purpose… the deeper the better. But don’t let a few stories about super hero, often inhuman, founders and leaders who sleep 4 hours a night or less make the rest of us think we need to follow that same path. We don’t.
The best part? It’s never to late to start making a difference. Start small, weave little actions on a daily basis into your world. And when you look back in a year, you’ll be amazed at the difference those little actions make. It all adds up. And the fact that the problem you are working on isn’t yet solved, maybe will never be solved in your lifetime, and that the struggle is still very real, doesn’t mean its not worth doing.