Pain is a Tool

Kevin Johnson Better

I’ve been reading a horrible book…

By horrible I mean, I hate it, it pushes me more than I want to be pushed, and exposes all sorts of deep wounds, frustrations, and areas in my life where i’m unsatisfied. It’s basically a form of self torture. Please, just take a brief look at the following excerpt from “Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth” by Samuel Chand.

“I’ve known many leaders whose potential hit a ceiling and stopped when they refused to breakthrough their pain threshold. Some completely bailed out, but most settled for something less – often far less – than the grand design God had for them. Their pain threshold became their ceiling. My hope for you is that you’ll acquire the heart perspective, and skills to continually raise your pain threshold.”Samuel Chand "Leadership pain"

This book wouldn’t be so bad if I simply just hated the book, and this guys understanding of life and leadership. I would easily toss it to the bookshelf of forgotten books, and leave it there with no heart ache. The reason however why I hate this book is because I can’t argue with the facts being displayed in it, as in every area of life, pain is a great indicator of growth, and a great motivator.

Much like those who joke about “I only run if something is chasing me” it’s the fear of pain in that situation that motivates them to action. But IRL, especially when it comes to the human body, it’s only our ability to push beyond our pain threshold that we see the increase, increase in stamina, muscle, weight loss, agility, speed, endurance, and more. Of course we are not talking about forcing yourself to bench 350 a break your rotator cuff in the process, but knowing where your pain threshold is, and pushing just a little further than before.

If every time you leave the gym, you feel 100% great, then you probably didn’t push yourself hard enough. I was at the gym this last week and tried doing a few new things to engage other muscles with varying exercises, and in doing so, i found myself pacing outside, resolved in my mind that I was going to puke, and decided which defenseless bush was going to receive my unwanted gift. After focusing for another 8 minutes or so, and a few uncomfortable waves of “oh here it comes! oh… it passed” I managed to not puke, and gain control, and go back into the gym and properly finish my workout.

All of this to say, I have to agree with this dang book, and say, if we don’t push ourselves through levels of pain, both in our bodies, and in our lives, relationships, etc. We won’t go to the next level. One point this book illustrated well is either way we are going to face pain, but earlier on, we have the chance to choose how much pain we want to endure, and for how long. However if we keep pushing it off, then we will be forced to deal with a greater deal of pain later. A perfect example can be seen in our physical health, if we don’t start enduring the pain of our schedule change to get to the gym, the pain of working out and recovery, the pain and fear of throwing up in the gym, then later, maybe years later even, a doctor will be there to let you know you now have to lose weight or die, and you’re in a physically less able position to do so than you were when you still had the choice to choose pain. It will never be easier than today, tomorrow will not be an easier day, if you don’t start now.