If you’re afraid to accept pain or fear, you give the world a chain to control you. If you can accept pain and fear – if you can be okay with feeling them – the world has no hold on you.
I realized this ruminating on an insecurity today. My mind kept shifting back to all the bad things I was worried could happen – the people I would lose, the opportunities, etc. – the pain I’d experience. The situation was eating up a lot of my bandwidth.
I asked myself a question: “So what?” What if I was completely fine with experiencing pain?
Would I need to ruminate about this situation? No. Would a negative outcome matter? No. I could deal with the pain.
I wouldn’t need to think about it. I wouldn’t need to act on it. My mindset is fundamentally unaffected by it.
When I can’t accept pain, I have to avoid it at all costs. It becomes my only focus, and avoiding potentially painful situations happens at the expense of pursuing enjoyable ones.
When I can accept pain, it ceases to have a hold over me. I don’t have to think about it at all. It’s something I might experience at times, but when it happens I’ll feel it, deal, and move on. I focus on building a life I love, and I consciously focus on pain for one reason only – to get back to building A.S.A.P. – and only for as long as needed to process it. (Depending on the pain, that could take months or years.)
When I can’t accept pain, I chain myself to the world. I let what others might say, think, and do affect me. I need them to not cause me pain. Like The Fountainhead‘s Henry Cameron, I’ll go to any length to avoid pain, and will consume myself in it when it inevitably comes.
When I can accept pain, I’m free to live exactly as I please. The world can do what it will, and turn out however it pleases. I’ll be living my own way.
That’s what Howard Roark does.