What is Worth Suffering For?

So 2018 is already whirring into gear. It’s likely you’re back at work, with your holidays already a distant memory. Before the magic dust of inspiration that comes with each New Year slips through your fingers it worth taking a moment to consider how you want to invest your time and energy in 2018. When you do come up with some goals its important you check that you are prepared to suffer to reach them, if not you may as well not bother. Let me explain.


Like a lot of people over Christmas I read a really interesting book called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*@K” by Mark Manson. One juicy piece of wisdom he articulates beautifully is that all choices we make in life lead to a mixture of happiness and suffering. For example you might decide you want to loose weight but the path to loosing weight involves the suffering and pain of getting up early to train, not eating ice cream, wrestling with your willpower when your motivation wanes and some days just feeling terrible about yourself. The point is that whatever path you choose you need to be willing to accept and even embrace the pain that is inherent in that path. Otherwise, when you come up against the inevitable suffering or pain associated with your decision to, in this example, loose weight you’ll stop taking action and won’t reach your goal.

If you think about it, anything worth doing has a mixture of suffering and joy:

Having kids involves sleepless nights, lots of worrying, complete life disruption vs the boundless love, laughter, sense of meaning that kids bring.

Finishing a uni degree involves exams, HECS debt, loads of stress vs better career prospects, life long friendships, sense of satisfaction.

Learning to play a musical instrument involves frustration; being initially hopeless at it, hours of your life you’ll never get back vs the blissful joy of making music.

So when you contemplate what you want to do differently this year make sure you reconcile yourself with the both the downside of the suffering you are signing up for as well as the upside of what you are planning to achieve. If you mentally get that balance right first, your expectations of the journey will align much better with the actual lived events. Then it’s much more likely that when you go through the moments of suffering you will be prepared for them and wont throw in the towel.  


Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. 

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