Must we suffer in order to grow?

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Tony Robbins is very fond of the Buddhist principle that in life, pain is inevitable, but suffering is an option.

Life can be painful at times. No one is going to argue that point. Even seeds crack open, to bring forth their new life. Chicks have to bust out of their shells, butterflies out of their cocoons. But as any biologist will confirm, that physical struggle makes their wings strong, forces unwanted fluids from their bodies and feeds them. This metaphor has been applied to our personal growth, but I wonder if this is to our continued detriment.

There is no doubt that personal struggle can build character. We can learn through adversity to appreciate what we have, to have empathy, to see shared humanity.

One person struggles to put food on the table for their children while another struggles to pay their credit card bill from too much shopping and we scream hashtag first world problem!

In the words of Hamlet, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Two people may share a dilemma but view it very differently. Many New Thought (the more inclusive and polite term for ‘new age’, first coined in the 1830s) teachers will even suggest that being grateful for our struggle can be a vital step in learning from it.

Dr. Joe Dispenza says that you can learn and grow in a state of pain and struggle, or in a state of joy and inspiration. I know what I’d prefer!

As a plant or an animal grows, or a human baby for that matter, the best thing we can offer the growing new life is the perfect environment. If a young plant or animal suffers, such suffering will leave its mark. This is the same for a human child. As the Jesuits say “Show me a boy of seven, and I will show you the man.”

Children grow best with healthy food, clean water, a safe place to sleep, grow and learn, and love. A nice little Maslow stack and you’ll have a happy healthy individual who should reach their potential. simon-peel-589036-unsplash.jpg

Easier with animals and plants, right, because they don’t have the free will to take all the good we give them and twist it around into something hurtful.

Pop culture is awash with examples of super-rich kids with everything and nothing. I am not talking about giving a child a lavish lifestyle, filling their mouth with food before they can even ask for it, handing them the keys to a brand new car on their 16th birthday. That’s not the perfect environment.

There’s nothing wrong with ensuring our kids have a safe environment, enough to eat or even a new car, a trip around the world…they are just things. It’s what we teach them, how we give, and who we model for them, that shows them how to live.

We can learn through joy and insight but education and guidance is the key. There is enough information out there on the web and in the library, that there is no excuse for waiting until the Universe hits you upside the head.


FOR CREATIVES and anyone who wants to change their lives or level up! I love the Law of Emergence podcast with Derek RydellHe outlines the 7 Steps to creating the life of your dreams.

What – what do you really want to achieve. Be specific. Work on this. Take it seriously and spend time working it out. Sometimes it helps to work out what you don’t want and work from there.

Why – A lot of people talk about finding your WHY, but one good way to do that is to employ the Five Whys. Decide on your ‘What’ then ask yourself why, then why to the answer, and so on five times.

Undo your why knots. What are the red-flags, fears, and negatives that come up when you’re working on your what and why?

Design a life that’s Congruent with your highest vision vs protection. The path towards your dreams really has to align with your personal beliefs. Make no mistake, your personal beliefs will change over time. If they don’t, you might want to dig deeper into your personal work.

Plan and schedule. A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Structure, support, and accountability. Within your plan, make room for change but make sure that you are working daily towards your goal. If you want to write a book, make a plan to write daily, get help where needed, and find a buddy who will keep you accountable to your plan.

Ongoing assessment and evaluation. David Kadavy calls this ‘shipping’. I really believe that you need to find your voice in order to find your audience, but you have to be getting your work out there. It’s so easy now with the internet; no matter what you’re doing, there’s an app, website, or forum for it!

As Derek says, if you don’t have new habits all the inspiration in the world won’t do anything!!

My mantra for 2018 has been By doing ALL I CAN with ALL I HAVE the inspiration and insight to achieve my intentions will flow.

2 Replies to “Must we suffer in order to grow?”

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