GROWTH IS PAINFUL
I talk a lot here about aspirations.
What you’ll get if you do this, say this, or think this way.
And I do it for good reason: it’s positive. It gets you excited. It makes you want to take action.
Rarely, however, do I talk about what you will give up.
And I need to, because it’s the one thing that stops people from their dreams.
There’s a reason people don’t change. It’s not that they don’t want their outcome – it’s that they’re not ready to leave their current world behind. Growth is painful.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am in the process of killing myself.
Not literally, mind you – there is far too much in this rich world for physical suicide. If you are tired of your life, death is a cop-out with so many ways to recreate yourself.
No, I am simply in the process of killing my previous personality, habits, and beliefs – eliminating everything in my life that doesn’t serve me.
Nothing is off the table, be it the people I know or my own proclivities.
Anything that is holding me back from creating the world I want must go. For if not, I will die an unfulfilled, unhappy man – and there is nothing in this world quite as terrible as regret.
What do you want, and why aren’t you going after it?
Most everybody experiences situations that force them to grow. From time to time life requires you to adapt, even if you do not like it. After all, growth is painful.
Few people, however, live their lives with a conscious intention to grow – and even fewer live out this intention indefinitely. Many – unhappy with where they are – push to the next level, reap the rewards, and then settle there instead of moving onward.
In other words, they become comfortable. They know growth is painful so they avoid it.
And that’s ok.
Your life exists for your enjoyment. If you are happy with the extra options you’ve created for yourself and want to stop there, who’s to judge?
Growth is not pleasant. Growth is painful. The liberation of reaching a new level of life is marred by constant rejection and saying goodbye to those you love.
For all the benefits of leading a life of conscious growth, growth means outgrowing people. Whether or not you want your friendships and romances to end, many people will simply not accept the new you – either because they want you to be something different for their own needs or because the new you challenges their conceptions in an unpleasant way. It is just one of the many ways that growth is painful.
You have to decide: Do I accept their vision of who I should be, or do I reject it and chart my own path?
Most will accept it because living life on their own terms is terrifying. Growth is painful, and they want to avoid that pain.
Mike Cernovich recently described the emotional sacrifice a man must make when breaking out of society’s assumptions: the shame and anxiety that come to the surface when you start playing by your own set of rules and begin “letting other people down.”
I have seen this first hand with friends and family, and indeed, my transformation is just beginning. None of it is easy. Growth is painful.
It will not be easy for you either.
You need to ask yourself before you begin if you are willing to accept the hate of others and lose people in your life. Though you will not end up alone and will meet higher quality people along the way, the journey there will be hard. Growth is painful.
That is the cost of having freedom of conscience and living a liberated existence. How important is it to you?
Remember: Growth is painful, but an unfulfilled existence is deadening. All that is holding you back from doing better is fear.
All those nights you come home from a job you find barely tolerable, order cheap takeout, watch Netflix and drink yourself into a stupor; all those weekends you waste with ‘friends’ you have nothing but circumstance in common with – this is you numbing yourself to your reality. Growth is painful, but how pleasant is this?
Maybe you like being numb, and if so, that is your choice. We all cope with fear in our own way.
But do not be surprised if over the years you gradually begin to lose your soul.
When will you take action? Every year it gets harder to escape from the decisions you make now. Growth is painful, but it only gets worse as time goes on.
People like to say you can always change. And they are usually right, you can. But the upheaval and complications of change always get worse in time.
There is no sugar coating it: some decisions will wreck your life. Maybe you need 5, 10, 20 years of repeated mistakes to experience the consequences; maybe a single action is all it takes. Not all mistakes can be recovered from.
Ask the guy in prison for life if he still wishes he had killed that person. Ask the 45 year old smoker with terminal lung cancer if he wishes he had started the habit.
Of course they don’t, and they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Everyone knows murder and smoking are bad – what they don’t know is how terrible many of the ideologies and expectations condoned and encouraged by society actually are. They are what you really need to watch out for, because they will not only kill your body and mind and steal your spirit, they will do it in secret. Indulge in them without awareness or restraint and they will ruin you.
Why? Society does not want you to grow. Society tells you over and over again that “growth is painful” and you should instead be comfortable. Because society wants you to be a slave.
Whether it is a slave to consumption, dependence, approval, or self-gratification – practically everything in modern society is designed to either crush your initiative, distract you, control you – and if you all of that fails – subvert you. They remind you that growth is painful so that you won’t to it; so they can own you.
If you want to think and live on your own terms you will have an uphill battle. You will have to deprogram yourself, and deprogramming will pit you against the masses who will find what you are doing to be unconscionable.
Yet it is those unconscionable, strange things that will set you free – not society’s favorable opinion.
What if I had listened to society and avoided Pick Up because of the stigma? What if I had acquiesced to the cultural narrative that practicing hitting on women and understanding how they worked was creepy and wrong?
I would have stagnated. Spiritually, I would have died.
Because Pick Up, for all it’s flaws, helped me to stop being a slave. It was painful growth for a time with big rewards down the line, and for that I will always be grateful to it.
Moving on isn’t easy, but whether or not you act, you will be acted upon. Do not abandon your agency out of fear – growth is painful, but it will not save you any pain.
The truth is whether or not to “give up” someone or something is a false choice. People die and circumstances evolve on their own. Your world will change whether you like it or not.
Which is why you must do whatever you do because it is what you want.
Being happy or fulfilled does not require you to seek the extremes of life, all it requires is for you to be active in choosing your current state. It does not matter what your life looks like to others, what matters is your degree of choice in experiencing it.
So long as you do that, you will be free.
And so long as you live in fear of others, you will be a slave.
Which one are you?
It may be tough to at first, but all growth is painful. Just remember – the consequences of not growing are always worse.