I got it all wrong. Throughout all these years, I thought that in order to feel good and get the most out of life I need to pursue happiness. Focus exclusively on doing stuff that make me feel good, relaxed and put a smile on my face. It turns out, that it’s the opposite. Only through struggle, you can accomplish true success.
We’ve all read books, articles, and probably watched videos that explain in great details that we should pursue what we love and show the middle finger to what we don’t quite like.
“Pursue your passion, find your bliss, listen to your hearth and success will have no other choice but to follow.”
You can see similar to the above statements in a lot of the ultra successful books about how to become rich, superstar, finding joy, or designing the perfect life.
These books are sold in millions. Hell, I actually started believing in all this crap after reading a couple of these famous self-help books.
I’ve started doing what I love and you know what? It doesn’t work. Because what you love usually doesn’t have any business potential.
So, if you, too, still believe that real success and true happiness is achieved by only doing things that fell good, I want to take you on a different journey. On a path full of pain and struggle. Not because I love pain. It’s because this is what’s really required in order to achieve what you want.
So, let me convince you that your passion and your bliss won’t take you far up the hall of fame.
Becoming the Best Bodybuilder of All Time
He is an actor, filmmaker, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician, and former professional bodybuilder and powerlifter. He served two terms as the Governor of California from 2003 to 2011.
Above all, he won the Mr. Olympia contest seven times and left a permanent mark in the world of bodybuilding.
His name is Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger.
Why mention Arnie and his work? Because bodybuilding is the best way to introduce struggle as a way towards success.
There is nothing uncommon in the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger:
A rebel child with an abusive parent looking for a way to escape his current lifestyle and become somebody.
Schwarzenegger started hitting the gym and “playing” with the barbell at the age of 15. Influenced by the bodybuilding idols back in the days, he formed a plan to become successful and rich by becoming the best powerlifter on his time.
In 1967, at the age of 20, Schwarzenegger won the title he dreamed of for the first time, becoming the youngest ever Mr. Universe. He would go on to win the title a further six times.
We all know what happens later: Conan; Terminator; Becoming a Governator.
We all know the story, but we don’t know what exactly happened in the background.
Becoming a bodybuilder is the best way to understand that struggle should be your best friends towards achieving what you truly want.
Even though lifters kind of love lifting weights, it’s surely not fun to do it 6 or even sometimes 7 days in the week. To get up early, to sweat, scream in the GYM, to you eat in a strict regime. To do this every day, for years.
Sorry, scratch the last. You do it for the rest of your life.
Life Is a Form of Suffering
No matter what we do for a living or what type of life we live, we all struggle.
The person with a business suffer because of his business;
The guy who is homeless suffers because he has no home;
The family with a big house suffers because they have to spend their whole weekend cleaning the house;
The person who doesn’t have a relationship suffers because he is feeling lonely;
The guy who is in a relationship suffers because he argues with his spouse constantly.
No matter what you do, how much money you make, what kind of insurance type you have, you will inevitably suffer.
When I was in school, I thought that after I graduate my life will unfold and I’ll be free, happy. I will do whatever I want. “Doing homework and getting up early to catch the bus? No more. I’m no longer a student.”
We all hate going to school.1 We’re miserable and everything related to school feels like torment: grades, teachers, tasks, getting up early, being cool, trying to be cool, gossip, parties, who is going to take you to prom, and all other things that seem super important but aren’t actually.
I counted the years I have left in school like a federal prisoner. Every day felt endless.
When the final day finally came, I felt like a lottery winner. I felt liberated.
The feeling didn’t last long…
Soon, the struggle of doing homework and getting up early was replaced with working for money and getting up even earlier than before. Add to that paying my own bills and saving for my future home.
It turns out, that going to school is way better than working. There are fewer responsibilities when you’re a teenager. Also, definitely doing tests feels way easier than convincing people to buy the service you’re selling or creating detailed analytics of the amount of sold items for the last quarter and present all of this information on a meeting.
But this is what life is all about, we move away from certain problems only to find new ones.
That’s why your problem-solving ability is kind of important.
Life is About Solving Problems
Why we end or escape relationships?
For two main reasons:
We have too many problems with our current partner (e.g., we fight, he is a pig, we literally fight);
We no longer feel attached to that person, which is again a problem.
If we constantly fight with our spouse we’ll either apart or try to fix our problems.
The same applies in every aspect of our lives:
We seek new opportunities in terms of career because we have problems in the current job: not enough money; can’t agree with the boss, etc.
We visit the mall because we don’t feel OK or we think that we don’t have anything to wear. That’s why we spend cash like crazy thinking that buying clothes that will eventually end up only collecting dust somewhere in the abyss of our wardrobe will solve the problem.
You’re surrounded by problems and finding solutions to these obstacles is what you do the moment you wake up.
The sooner you realize this, the better.
So, since dealing with problems is an invariable part of our lives, it’s better to find problems that we at least enjoy dealing with.
What kind of problems and struggles you want in your life?
Our dear friend, the Terminator, later the Governor, has chosen his destiny at the age of 15. He decided to have problems with going to the GYM. Lifting weights, every-single-day of his life. Eating healthy. Preparing for a title that will change his life.
Of course, depending on your decision, the level of struggles and the problems you’ll face are going to be different.
Writing for a living and trying to become a best selling author will surely be easier, physically, than trying to become the next Mr. Olympia. However, it’s surely going to be harder in terms of creativity and trying to come up with fresh content. Because, after all, writing one book can’t make you a living for the rest of your life, you will need to write another one, and then another one, and then, guess what, another one. At least if you want to continue to be a writer.
The common misconception is that in order to be truly happy and fulfilled in your life you should strive to do what you love and avoid problems. We’re sold this idea:
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” Marc Anthony
This sounds cool and all but the work is always work.
Life is more like this statement:
Solving a major problem doesn’t open the gates of paradise. It opens the doorway to the next problem. We are always in the process of becoming, working towards a state of perfection that we will never reach and shouldn’t expect to.” Neil Strauss
What I’m trying to say is that rich people still have money problems, no matter how much money they make. Good looking people have relationship issues, no matter how gorgeous they are.
What I want to say is that you need to find shit you enjoy dealing with.
Find Shit You Enjoy Dealing With
It all comes down to finding shit you enjoy dealing with.
If you want to increase your happiness you just need to figure out what kind of problems and struggles you want in your life.
Also, there is one additional ingredient that goes into the happiness cocktail, to understand that joy is a constant work in progress.
I mean, you will never reach a state where everything is perfect. Where you’ll just sit on the beach and drink pina coladas, for an infinite amount of time.
Yep, I know.
It’s a hard pill to swallow.
It’s basically showing the middle finger to the authors of every self-help book and life advice you’ve heard before. Calling your mom and asking her: “Mom, why did you lied to me? You told me that once I graduate I will find a cool job and I’ll be paid a shit load of money?”
Once I graduated I felt misled. I really thought that once I graduate all my problems will be solved.
This never happened.
The older I get, the more shit I have to deal with.
In general, there are two types of shit we need to deal with in our lives:
In this category, we put things that we cannot live without. For example, if you suffer from diabetes, you need to carry a shot of insulin with you all the time. No matter where you go. This becomes part of your life. You can’t live without this. It’s not fun but you need to do it.
Other things in this category are:
Money: Saving money, managing money, thinking about money;
Work: Doing work you often hate in order to get money;
Basically, everything you do that you don’t quite enjoy but you need to do it anyway: laundering, cleaning the house, cooking, the above, etc.
Even though I’m good shape now, it’s wasn’t always like that. I was a fat little boy. But I wanted to change. That’s why, I started exercising. Hitting the GYM, running, doing pushups. Before I did it a few times per week now I exercise every day.
I get up around 06:30 so I can train for about 40 minutes.
Every morning I struggle. Even though I’m waking up earlier than before for more than half a year now, my mind is still trying to convince my body to lay in bed and sleep longer. But I still get up. I do it every single day. It’s my choice. Can I live without exercising every day? Sure I can. But I know I’ll be feeling worse after a while. This is the struggle I’m willing to accept in order to feel good in my own skin.
Along with exercising and getting up early I also put things like: eating salads, not eating cakes, writing. I do these things every day.
Often I struggle. But this type of shit I’m willing to handle.
Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled for years till he managed to win the Mr. Olympia competition. He struggled even longer after that to win the same title additional 6 times.
Even if he did enjoy lifting weights, there were surely times when he felt miserable and self-doubt was invading his mind.
Going to the GYM and working out was the optional shit he put in his life but this shit grew and became a forest full of trees that money instead of fruit.
This type of shit allowed him to become an actor and later enter politics – who would guess that.
But enough about Arnie. He’s surely doing all right. It’s your turn now.
Do you want a better life? A slight increase of your overall happiness? Then, what type of shit you’re willing to accept in your life?
Well, at least most of the people I know. Personally, I hated going to school. I don’t know about you but I never found true friends in my school.