Painful Lessons are Powerful Lessons

DNF– I’ve avoided these three letters like the black plague for most of my life!

Unfortunately, DNF was listed next to my name during The Munga: The Toughest Race on Earth last month. DNF stands for DID NOT FINISH.  It’s the equivalent of saying that an athlete quit before completing the event.

I wish I had completed the race last month. However, things didn’t go as planned, and I learned a few excruciating lessons because of the DNF next to my name. Last month reminded me that life’s most powerful lessons are also some of life’s most painful ones. I will always remember a few lessons I re-learned last month while attempting The Munga.

Here are my top 3 painful/ powerful lessons from The Munga, and I hope you’ll put some of these lessons to work in your life in 2023.

Pain is a powerful teacher.

Let’s face it; we all want to stand on the winning platform. We all want to hold the trophy in our hands. However, life doesn’t always work out that way. I’ve found that many people are so concerned about not being able to finish a task or an event that they never give it a try in the first place.

In other words, they’re paralyzed by the idea that they might fail.

Every child has fallen while learning to walk. We all fell while learning to ride a bike for the first time. You must be willing to fail if you’re going to grow as a human being. Refusing to try a new challenge simply because you might fail stunts your growth as a person. Pain isn’t fun, but it can be a powerful teacher in life.

Don’t hide from life by avoiding failure.  Get out there.  Take some risks.  Fall a time or two.  You will become a better human being in the process.

You only get what you want in life… or you get experience!

The first time I failed to complete difficult training in the US military, one of my buddies made this brilliant statement to me. He said, “Jeff, ultimately we only get two things in life. You either get what you want out of life… or you get experience.” 

The longer I live, the more wisdom I see in my friend’s statement.

Sometimes life goes the way we want it to go. However, many times circumstances don’t turn out the way we want.  Those moments when life doesn’t go how we want to force us to react to events. These disappointments in life give us experiences that help us face more significant challenges in the future.

When life gets difficult, don’t sit around and pout that circumstances aren’t going the way you want. Get up, face your challenges, and grow as a person because of the painful experiences in life.

Some days, you ride the bull…Some days, the bull rides you.

I reminded myself of this simple statement thousands of times in the US Army. Some days, it feels like everything is lining up in your favor, and everything seems to be going according to your plans. These days feel like you are a rodeo star on the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) tour.

We all long for days when it feels like the world is at our fingertips and life is going according to our plans.  Then, there are the other days.  

When things don’t go according to your plans, it feels like the world’s weight is on your shoulders. In 2023, you’ll have some good days when it feels like you’re riding the bull of life. In 2023, you’ll have some awful days when it feels like the bull is riding you.

Don’t give up when life circumstances are out of your control.  You are forced to react to events and face challenges on the days when the bull is riding you, and these moments forge you into a better man or woman in the future.

Don’t run from the painful lessons of life. These are often the most powerful lessons. Remember that the painful/ powerful life lessons last much longer than the fleeting joy of victory.

To hear about why The Munga didn’t go as planned, listen to the podcast about it HERE

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