how I conquered pain.
We are mostly slaves to pain.
But what if we could overcome pain, and make pain our slave? To not trade our freedom for comfort, to learn how to take more risks in life, to conquer fear?
Why conquer fear of pain?
So first question; why conquer fear of pain?
The reason is this: we fear pain, and we fear death. This is what prevents us from doing cool and epic shit in life.
In modern society, we’ve gone soft. Fucking soft.
I want us to become like the spartans; no fear of death. The only thing they respected was living a heroic life, and having a heroic death.
To have a heroic death is to sacrifice your life for the collective. It means that you are willing to bear pain and difficulty for others.
Some ideas that I have done in my life:
I. Cold showers
I have taken cold showers quite religiously for the last 4 years. I feel this is a practical way I’ve been able to conquer fears of pain.
I no longer fear cold showers. This has practical applications— when I am traveling, and the warm water goes out I’m not scared. I can stay at shitty hotels or motels or hostels, not worrying about warm water.
Cold water also shocks your system to release human growth hormone. I know for myself personally, after taking cold showers, I just feel more like a badass. I feel like Wolverine, I can still feel pain, but I’m not afraid of it.
I started by taking really hot showers then making it very cold at the end for like ten seconds. Now I just jump straight in, and cold straight up. I still feel pain from the cold, but I’m not afraid of it.
If you’re not afraid of the pain of cold, you can conquer much in life.
II. Pain of rejection
Socially, we fear pain of rejection. Pain of people making fun of us, not accepting us for who we are, blah blah blah.
Now, I’m like fuck it. I don’t give a fuck what others think of me. I only care what I think of me. And of course, my close friends, and my family, and most importantly. Cindy.
I’ve made myself immune from the opinions of others by not looking at comments, and really not caring what others think of me, whether positive or negative.
Now, I only follow my own inner soul. I ask myself:
Do I feel morally or ethically right doing this?
I imagine my 18 year old self, and ask myself whether I would be proud of myself or not.
In terms of my art, I just make art that I wanna look at. I really don’t care whether others will like it or not. I know I have made a good photograph if the more I look at it, the more I like it.
Warren Buffet calls this judging yourself by your own “inner scorecard”, rather than crowd sourcing your self esteem to Facebook or Instagram by how many likes or followers you have.
Steve Jobs would look at the mirror every night, and ask whether he thinks he was doing the right thing or not.
Seneca taught us to always think of death, and to live every day like it were a full life.
If you can deal with the pain of overcoming your body through deadlifting you can do anything in life.
Seriously. When I first deadlifted over 400 pounds, and I went to fucking beast mode, I knew that no petty things could hurt me anymore. No opinions or negative comments online could hurt me. Even people shouting in my face, I don’t feel intimidated.
I boxed in high school, a much more tame version of Fight Club. My friends would go to my house, open up the garage, put on the soft red boxing gloves, and beat the shit out of one another for fun. It was less about strength, it was about guts. It was about not wimping out. It was about learning how to take a punch, falling into a concussion, and realizing that the pain of being punched in the face or head is actually not too bad.
To be frank, at this point I’m not even afraid of death. Fucking if I die, I can know that I’ve lived a good life. Because I devoted every hour of my day to empower myself, empower others, empower Cindy, empower my mom, family, friends, and the rest of society through this open source information.
Whenever I take off on a plane, I close my eyes, and I feel the wings rattle. I feel my heart skip a beat. I wonder if I died tonight, would I regret anything? The answer is always:
But the general thing I feel afraid of is,
Did I tell Cindy how much I loved her, appreciated her, and how amazing she was?
That’s pretty much it.
I really don’t care for leaving a legacy. I can die without any kids, but I know that this information will outlive me. I just want to empower those 12 year olds, for them to lift themselves out of poverty, and empower themselves, and dedicate the rest of their lives to empower others.
IV. Stoic philosophy
I work out my body through deadlifts, push-ups, chin ups, one legged pistol squats, through one handed push-ups, and L leg tucks. The more physically strong I feel, the more mentally strong I feel.
Also, I workout my mind by ingesting Stoic philosophy. To be honest, I’m more of a Stoic than a Christian. I just want to be the most badass Stoic, following in the footsteps of Jesus. Seneca is my best friend.
Stoicism has taught me not to be afraid of pain, fate, and death. I always meditate on death, everyday. Senecas “On the shortness of life” was read by me at least 30 times. I’ve read his “Letters from a stoic” at least twenty times.
Senecas dying words were:
Dear friends, I leave you the best gift. The pattern of my life.
So I’ve compromised, betrayed my morals, and am full of sin. I’m a pretty fucked up, insensitive, self centered, and selfish person. I really don’t care about others as much as I care about myself.
But still, everyday I’m seeking to be a little less shitty of a person. I’ll never be good. But I can seek to be less bad.
I’ve overcome the fear of pain. The fear of mental pain, from Cindy looking down at me. I no longer am afraid of random comments online, to me they are just digital 1s and 0s that evaporate into the digital ether.
I see my body strong, lean, mean, like Achilles, King Leonidas, or Bruce Lee.
I’m gonna try to be the best role model I can in my life, by practicing what I preach, and complaining less. To be less petty. To be more generous and loyal, and more loving.
None of this will help you. This is just my autobiography.
Figure out what works for you. And everyday, try to seek to be a little less afraid of pain, and you will gain the entire world.