Is there strength in pain?

I guess that it all depends on how you define of pain.

Throughout my life I have long felt that i was underestimated. I guess that this Napoleon like mentality started at very young age. Growing up I was never a great student. I knew that I was a reasonably intelligent individual, but I NEVER got good grades growing up. My father on the other hand is the type of individual who is exceptionally smart. Aerospace engineering degree, Juris Doctorate, and enough flight hours to fly a 747. By all measures one of those who looks at something once, and knows it for life. You know the kinda student that we all wish we were, but very few of us are.

It goes without saying that my dad had a hard time understanding why I just did not absorb material like he did. I vividly remember my dad finally hitting a breaking point. I was 10 years old and in 4th grade. This particular breaking point was a 4th grade science test. My dad studied with me till 4 in the morning. We could not sleep until I knew the information backwards and forwards. Yup… he really kept me up studying for a 4th grade science test… until 4 AM. The next morning I dragged my sleepy butt to school and took the science test.

The following day the teacher asked me out into the hall prior to the start of the science lesson, as I followed him out the door my mind raced as to why i was being lead out of the classroom. Once out in the hall the teacher accused me of cheating on the test, the very test that I spent 6 hours studying for. I tried to explain as tears rolled down my face, that I did not cheat and I studied with my dad, but the teacher did not believe that to be the case. If fact, it was only after a call from my dad that the teacher gave me the grade that I deserved… a 98%

It was in that moment that I remember being a ticked off little 10 year old, who’s own teacher, did not believe I was capable of success, I thought ***** this! I’m going to show everyone who thinks “You are not capable of that” or “you can’t do that”. I’m going to prove them all wrong! It does not matter the obstacle in my way. I will do whatever it takes. I will use that pain to build success. I will overcome any object in my way simply because someone said I couldn’t.

At a very young age I had found a valuable tool.

If you associate pain with long term suffering or a series of waves that crash into you continually knocking you over, there will likely be no strength.  Pain then is weakness.  A stop sign…A flashing red light.  A dark tunnel with no perceived way out.   Pain is like a chronic illness that will not subside. It will slowly break you. But if you define pain as a time variable opportunity for transformation, for learning,  a chance to tap into some of your potential, a challenge to show others that you are not who you seem, pain can be your greatest power source. Your fuel for success. Pain, whether in your heart, body or mind, can lead to personal revelations, increased strength and endless endurance.  Pain is the ultimate equalizer.  It reminds us that life is not always fair. Don’t resist pain.  Instead, embrace it… lean into it.  Pain is power. It’s the birthplace of strength.