A question I think on a lot -
What's it take to do interesting and important things in the world?
That's one of the things regularly explored here - creativity, ambition, self-discipline, paying attention to numbers and getting probability on your side, relating with people, thinking clearly, establishing good habits, etc, etc.
Add this one to the list -
A willingness to suffer for what you want.
You shouldn't like suffering. But it seems that an unwillingness to suffer in the short term leads a lot of people to getting less of what they want in the long term.
For instance, say Bob's got $10,000 of consumer debt at 30% interest. That means he's got a $3,000-per-year anchor tied to his neck, money that goes off into the abyss and does nothing for him.
To pay that off, Bob's going to need to suffer some. He's going to need to do what it takes to spend less or earn more money for a while, and put it all towards killing off that debt. He only needs to do it once and then the anchor is gone.
But oh, were it only that simple...
The whole process will probably involve a considerable amount of emotional distress for Bob. He probably doesn't even want to think about his debt, because it sucks and it's unpleasant to think about. He's going to have to do some research, figure out his options, put plans together. He'll get some good feelings as soon he starts - there's always some satisfaction in taking greater control of your life - but mostly, the beginning process will be unenjoyable.
Then he'll have to stick with his plan, which also probably involves not doing what he wants to do exactly for a while.
When he does it, the anchor is gone. $3,000 per year that was going of into the abyss is back into Bob's pocket. If he keeps building, investing, expanding with his money, he could potentially achieve quite a lot.
But yes, it takes some bad feelings up front.
The same is true of trying to break a chemical addiction. If you try to quit whatever addictive thing, oh, you're going to suffer.
Nobody wants to say that, because it's not pleasant. Everyone wants to say and hear easy-fast-free-painless - of course. Who wants to suffer? Nobody wants to suffer.
But you know, I'm starting to put "willingness to suffer" very high on my list of traits that predict success. A lot of doing cool and meaningful things sucks at the beginning. Sometimes there's a way around it, but not always.
That's when the person who is willing to suffer wins.
Two closing thoughts:
*Don't suffer stupidly. If you've got an abusive boss in a shit job, get out of there. Be willing to suffer towards a clear goal when there's no superior options - yes. Don't suffer for the sake of it.
*I'm certain the capacity for this can be built. There might be some inborn baseline, but it can definitely be cultivated over time. A willingness to suffer and a capacity to endure suffering on the path you want to walk - yes, that can be built. And I'm thinking it's one of the larger predictors of success.
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