I'm currently reading "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. It got me thinking about pain and how we can use it to help us. One of the resting salvations of our society is that the more we push against the unnecessary conveniences given to us, the more we learn our mental limits.
However, the problem in our culture is that we do not have enough things to push back against to grow ourselves. This is when you have to leverage the world around you and find challenges to put yourself through if you want to grow as a person. Growing as a person is not easy, especially when life has never been easier in the history of humankind. What we need is a quest, a purpose, and something that can help define ourselves; our identity...Needless to say with mental health being at an all-time low, many of us are not actively engaging in activities that would help us progress. This may be because we aren't looking and maybe no one showed us where to look or how to look, but I'm here to tell you why you should look for these obstacles to beat.
Throughout my life, I experienced the trauma of instability more than anything. Instability seems to be a very relevant term to use for how others feel in today's environment. We are living in a world that is changing every day. A world that runs on internet time and hashtag trends. Our language is dictated by this week's new meme or term and our feelings can be swayed by what we eat or how we look. Everything is changing at all times, and it's only accelerating with the advent of artificial intelligence. If we want to keep sane in our insane world we have to synchronize with who we are and what we want to do. We are not so much human beings as we are human doings, but if we find the right thing to do, we can often find who we should be. Most importantly, we should remind ourselves what we're made of every day. Refueling our sense of pride every day by doing something difficult is what keeps tough people tough.
This is what I believe David Goggins has done. He has accomplished what many people strive to do but do not know how to do. The thing that is most true to me in reading his story is that each day you must take one at a time, and with each day you must re-earn your own sense of pride. Each day your overall goal should be to learn, but what you learn must be directed towards your purpose and your purpose should always run parallel to your identity. The second things become off-balanced is when things will start to intersect and chaos will ensue.
The Star of David is congruent with this idea. The outside triangles represent the exterior chaos of the world we embody, whereas the interior shape symbolizes the order we must have contained within our actions and being in order to live a meaningful existence. Where we stand today is in a world that is bleeding more and more into the chaos and less focused on the internal order of how our lives should be. What David Goggins has done is taken the chaos that was his childhood and used it as the basis of which motivated him to pursue order. An extreme order was necessary for him to find harmony. Every off-balance thing must be counteracted with an equally opposite force and in this case, he used physical exertion to combat his internal pain. And while he never had a plan in ever stopping, that was and is his plan. Never stop, always progress and evolve to a new level of your identity. Finding out who you are and why you are is half the battle, the other half is continuing to fight.
Always fight for what you believe. In my time battling drug addiction I realized that the drugs were giving me a new identity. A feeling of exhilaration as I confidently crushed any obstacle and looked for the next. However, this was a fake identity, one handed to me by a pill and this is not sustainable. With that said, if you are in a place in your life where you feel that something be it food, alcohol, porn, drugs, or even other people close to you are being used by your desire for purpose then it's time to take a step back and realize that for one, you aren't alone, and two: you have everything you need to start looking. The fact that you are reading this is proof alone that you have the tools necessary to find information. Keep reading stories of others to gain their knowledge. Read the story of Marilyn Monroe, Tupac Shakur, David Goggins, or James Baldwin.
James Baldwin is an especially interesting example and I won't go too in depth into his story here, but I want to share one little story of one particular moment in an interview he was in:
Remember you are not alone in your sufferings. I remember just this last week I was talking with a friend of mine I hadn't seen since high school while we were at the wedding of a mutual friend. I remember him saying to me that at the university he was currently attending, no one talked to each other. He told me our 20-minute conversation was the most he talked to someone his age in the whole year. I was taken aback by this. How is it in the most advanced civilization in the history of mankind we are all alone? With more people than ever before to talk to, we are secluded from one another?
We are not alone, and we are definitely not alone in the general sense of suffering. Keep reading the stories of others. They will open the doors to many possibilities. I would recommend reading the stories of people who suffered greatly in their early life. I find that those who have made it out of the worst of situations have the perspective that might be needed to fix your current situation. Remember that physical exertion is one of the best ways to combat mental fatigue in life. The physical manifestation of suffering can help you fight the very real internal suffering you feel. I recommend David Goggins's book "Can't Hurt Me" to learn more about how you can do this. And as always, continue to think differently.