“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” —Unknown
Ralph Waldo Emerson explains in the law of compensation that “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”
Also in his journal dated back to the ancient times of 1826, he wrote that “the whole of what we know is a system compensation. Every defect in one manner is made up in another. Every suffering is rewarded; every sacrifice is made up; every debt is paid.”
There’s a domino effect taking place that alters the trajectory of your life, based upon the next immediate decision you make.
Whoa…that’s a little deep…but it’s the truth and a fact that needs to stay top of mind as we navigate the waters of life.
The more we put off decisions that we know is enriching for our lives, the more pain we’re causing ourselves and to some extent, the more pain we are causing to those in our lives and in the world who could use our gifts and help if we weren’t procrastinating.
This leads me into the world of health and fitness.
Often times, health is preached in simplistic terms such as losing body fat, seeing your abs, and other superficial metrics. Those are certainly motivating factors, but it’s important to realize that health is a much deeper and an expensive investment than is portrayed on a mainstream surface.
There’s a cost to our health. There’s also an accompanying pain with our health. It can be the pain of struggle or the pain of growth. Which direction that pain heads in is determined by the quality of your decisions.
In today’s microwave generation society, we often choose the immediate payout option. Taking $100 now instead of holding off for the big payout down the road. Taking the so-so relationship to avoid being alone instead of holding off for the mind-blowing-enriching relationships. And lastly, taking the get-quick fit option instead of holding off for the sustainable and long-lasting solution down the road.
And of course, there’s a cost to pay for those decisions. Instead of having some money developed in the long run from being patient, there’s debt, worry, and struggle with finances. The so-so relationship causes pain and agony down the road while having you potentially miss out on someone who was perfect for you had you just waited. Instead of having a healthy metabolism and body weight, weight gained returned along with a dip in confidence due to opting for the dietary shortcut.
There’s always an associated pain. Choose the pain that provides a positive and more beneficial ROI to your life.
If you don’t workout and eat nutrient rich foods, you’ll still experience soreness through disease, inflammation, lack of movement (gravity won’t be kind to you), obesity, and other metabolic issues from not treating your body properly.
Keep this in mind, you’re never avoiding pain, you’re swapping it out for another type of pain that doesn't serve you in the long run.
On the contrary, if you do workout and eat nutrient rich foods, you’ll still experience a soreness and level of discomfort through muscle fibers tearing down from workout sessions that will be strengthened through committing to sleep and making healthy food decisions instead of opting for convenient junk foods. By treating your body like a premium investment, you’re going to have a stronger and richer asset down the road.
By treating your body like a premium investment, you’re going to have a stronger and richer asset down the road.
Why do we often choose the wrong type of pain
No one deliberately chooses the option that leads to more struggle, disease, and pain down the road. I know there is the masochist in this world, but deliberately choosing this would bring that to an entirely different level.
Instead, people choose this type of pain because it’s far easier than choosing the alternate path of pain. It’s easier to choose this type of pain because you’re familiar with that type of pain that leads to struggle because that’s most likely the narrative and stories that you’ve told yourself over and over throughout the years (along with the environment conditioning you as well).
Attempting to choose the unfamiliar over the familiar is tough because our brain is conditioned to keep us safe and comfortable.
With nutrition, attempting to change your eating could be tough. Not because you don’t know the difference between choosing broccoli over wings and cakes, but because of the stories attached to those wings and cakes.
Those wings could be the weekend activities that you have with friends while socializing over the sports game. Those cakes could be bonding time between family and friends and you don’t want to be rude or break tradition.
The stories you have over various situations in life will keep you unhealthy and in “struggle mode” if you don’t actively make the effort and choice to endure the pain by rewriting those narratives.
Cakes, wings, inactivity and not saying “no” more often brings a negligence to your well-being which you have to pay later down the road—nothing is free in this world.
You can pay now for some minor pain of saying “no” and not succumbing to peer pressure. Or you can wait and pay later with compounding interest down the road.
Here are 3 popular scenarios to reframe from the pain of struggle to the pain of growth
1. The pain of playing the victim — It’s easy to fall into this type by default. This could be a financial struggle, a relationship struggle, a fitness struggle, and you don’t even know you’re doing it because you’re choosing to play the victim and let setbacks define you presently.
Bad things, uncomfortable things, and obstacles happen to us all. The key lies within your resiliency and how you choose to respond.
Narratives such as “it’s not fair”, “they have this advantage”, “my genetics hold me back”, and “I don’t have time” are excuses and narratives that allow you to get off from taking responsibility. Worst of all, playing the victim transfers all the power to the external sources which dampen your potential.
Counter-attack to the pain of playing the victim — What if you quit letting the inner critic reign free in your mind without questioning those thoughts? What if you stop giving your power away to external sources and instead took responsibility from making things happen while letting go of scarcity thinking?
This counter-attack brings the pain of accepting responsibility and realizing that your health is one-hundred percent in your control. There’s pain with this because if you fall short and don’t follow through, it’s no one’s fault but yours.
Will you accept the pain of total ownership?
2. The pain of not reaching your potential — You know you’re capable of losing weight, building muscle, and running that marathon. But, you never seem to do it. Close but no cigar is the theme running rampant inside your head. You start, achieve a little, but never seem to follow through for the entirety of the project and goal.
Counter-attack to the pain of not reaching your potential — What if you choose to endure no matter what and be willing to suck for however long until you flipped the switch and became more skillful? What if you committed to having the pain of discomfort and not give up so soon?
Meal prepping, learning how to eat healthy while at restaurants, hitting your macros, not letting your emotions dictate your nutritional decisions are all acquired skills that only develop through commitment and repetition. Weight lifting, losing body fat, running marathons are acquired skills that only develop through commitment and repetition through continual practice.
It will be uncomfortable and not pleasant often times, but the ROI of sticking with developing those much-needed skills for a healthy life sound much better than the ROI of diseases, illnesses, and other issues that decrease your quality of life.
3. The pain of self-judging — You know you can do more and even deserve better. But it’s not panning out that way in your life. Therefore, you get down on yourself and start to beat yourself up more about your lack of success.
Counter attack to the pain of self-judging — Trade the pain of self-judging for more compassion and stepping outside of your comfort zone while stepping into your power. Have the compassion to realize you’re not perfect and small daily improvements are all that’s needed. But also have the courage and awareness to realize that without stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things, you’ll always judge yourself for not reaching your goals.
Today, not tomorrow is a great day to start making your daily decisions count more and bring a better ROI to your life.