Most of us will face challenges in life.
We will face losses, rejections, heartbreaks, pain, and failure.
Some of them can bring us to our knees.
Take your time, cry your eyes out.
There is no need to be “strong”.
As a matter of fact, the more you accept your pain, the better you are going to heal.
This post is here to tell you that not only you can recover, but that those dark days can become the foundation of your future, upgraded self.
That’s the topic of this article.
- The Victim Mindsets
- Pain as Catalyst For Greatness: The Dragons
- Using Anger As Fuel
- Turning Pain Into Fuel
- The Dark Side of The Power Moves
- Owning The Dark Side
- Don’t Stay Stuck In The Dark
The Victim Mindsets
Pain, anger, traumas, failure, abuse… These can be defining moments in our life.
It’s OK to sit and wallow in pain for a while.
And most likely you will eventually recover.
What you will do with those dark days is up to you.
You can simply move on and become a healthier person. Or you can also use them as stepping stones to greatness.
There are a few wrong ways to approach pain and failure though.
The following are all the ways people let pain drag them down:
#1. Don’t Let It Slide
Most people pretend nothing hurtful happened.
But deep down you know someone hurt you, you know life is not going well.
- He just said you should eat less. It hurts you, but you “just let it go”.
Except, you don’t really let it go.
Don’t pretend you can let it go if you can’t.
Take stock of the situation instead.
#2. Don’t Pretend You’re OK With It
People do this all the time.
Out of fear of change or out of fear to look like victims, they pretend they are OK with whatever is happening.
- The “friend” making fun of you. He always cracks jokes about you and all the group laughs. And you laugh along.
Except, you really didn’t feel like laughing at all.
Don’t pretend you’re OK with it.
Recognize and accept that you got shitty friends and a terrible boss. Or that life isn’t going the way you want.
That’s OK, there is no need to pretend otherwise.
#3. Don’t Complain & Do Nothing
This is another common response for most people.
They complain to themselves and complain to their friends… And do nothing.
The perfect victim mentality.
- The boss disrespects you in front of colleagues. But instead of standing up to your boss, you prefer complaining to your colleagues.
“He’s an asshole“, you say.
But that asshole just owned you.
Remember: there is no issue in being a victim. The real tragedy is being a victim and denying being one.
Only once you accept it you can then start moving on.
#4. Don’t Pretend to Move On If You’re Not Yet Ready
It just happened, now you gotta move on, “forget it”.
That’s what everyone’s saying, after all, right?
Except you can’t really forget it and just go back to living your previous life. Just with one more baggage and another painful memory.
- She dumped you via text message and is telling her friends you were a mistake. You “move on”, passively waiting to meet another girl. Just a bit more scared now.
Instead, don’t try to move on when you’re not yet ready.
That time will come.
But sit with the pain a while longer. Pain is OK and once you will be truly ready to move in, you will move for good.
#5. Give The Other Cheek
It would be a great world a, world where giving the other cheek worked.
Unluckily, most of the time it’s only as likely you’ll get slapped again.
Here are some examples of “giving the other cheek mentality”:
- He is weak, that’s why he bullies you (justifying bullying)
- Kill them with kindness (give them the other cheek)
The fact that he might have his own problems doesn’t mean he must create problems for you.
And the idea that bullies have low self-esteem is not true, it’s a pop-psychology myth (see Baumeister, 1997).
Pain as Catalyst For Greatness: The Dragons
I will call the painful events in your life “dragons”.
First, let me define what’s a dragon:
A dragon is a painful experience or memory which you will leverage and use as a driving force
Every single painful experience or memory becomes a dragon. And, if you will use it well, the more and the bigger dragons you have, the more leverage you can create.
Examples of Dragons
A dragon is a rejection when you were desperate for a yes. It’s a heartbreak when you needed connection the most.
Or it’s having been the butt of the joke for way too long -too fat, too short, too bald, too ugly, too gay, too black, or whatever you have it-.
Or it can be deeper and darker.
An abusive parent is a dragon.
Your father telling you that you’d never amount to anything in life is a dragon.
A beautiful dragon, at that.
Those are the dragons who can help you fly the highest.
Most people try to hide their dragons.
Most people are wired in a race to who hides their dragons best.
Pretending that it never happened, trying to forgive and forget.
What I’m proposing instead is the opposite.
Because if you don’t accept it first, you will never truly heal.
And second, because you can actually use those dragons to help you grow, improve and drive you forward.
If you look at the story of some of the biggest achievers, many used their most painful moments for change.
- Tony Robbin‘s mother poured glue into his mouth
- Oprah was raped at 9 years old and for years on
- David Goggins‘ father beat him mercilessly
These are some people who used immense pain as fuel for growth.
But don’t think it’s just a few famous guys.
There are countless you and I don’t know who are doing amazing things spurred by their dragons.
The question is, are you going to let your pain devour you or are you going to use it?
It’s OK to be down, depressed, or take time off. But then, eventually… Are you going to rise up?
Remember, the night is always the darkest before the sun rises.
It is always darkest just before dawn
Using Anger As Fuel
You might like or not like Jordan Peterson.
But he is a smart man who knows about psychology.
And his popular book 12 Rules for Life Peterson says that that person repressing all their aggressive tendencies develop psychological issues.
And he says that aggression can be channeled into meaningful social pursuits or, at the very least, it can be used and leveraged for standing up to evil.
That much is true.
And it also happens to be one of the founding principles of this website.
Here is how controlled anger can help you fly higher:
1. Getting in The Zone
Tim Grover says it’s anger that gets you in the zone.
It’s anger simmering beneath your skin, barely about to burst, but you keep it under control for laser focus and peak performance.
When you control anger, you can shut everything down and focus on one thing only: the task at hand.
Simmering anger can help you enter into what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dubbed “Flow“.
I’m writing this post after Amazon mistakenly shut down my referral program account.
If it can’t be fixed it will cost me days of work.
I was struggling to find the right mindset to write this post. Now I use that anger for a full focus session.
If you struggle to start, turning your dragons into anger can be the best way to start doing it.
4. Massive Action
Massive action helps a lot.
Massive action sustained over the long haul builds empires.
Angela Duckworth in Grit explains that success is highly correlated to grit and staying power.
Anger is not great to sustain action, but it can serve as a reminder to get back when you’re straying.
Whenever you feel like you’re letting up… Get angry and renew your focus.
5. Pushing Past Comfort
Doyle in “The Talent Code” says that to learn and grow you must work at the edge of your comfort zone in repeated and grueling sessions.
Experiments show that people in angry states can resist pain considerably longer than individuals in non-angry states.
Whenever you’re tired, in pain, or at your wits’ end: get angry.
Turning Pain Into Fuel
Take that pain and instead of wallowing in it and becoming a passive victim use it.
Use it as a catalyst for change, as your dark side reservoir, and as fuel for action.
And whenever you’re depleted, tap into it:
- Thank you, Dad, for telling me I’d never amount to anything, this last set is for you
- Your ex dumped for a richer guy. These last 10 approaches are to show her you can get better
- “You’re a social retard”, told your ex-teacher. Your social transformation is proving her wrong
Remember: smooth sailing rarely carried anyone to greatness. But men are born and characters are forged in your darkest hours.
It’s in your darkest hours that men are born and characters are forged.
The Dark Side of The Power Moves
There are some dragons that fueled TPM as well.
Part of what drives and motivates me is not just about building some good and nice.
Or about “making an impact”.
Arriving at The Power Move was a path of failure and disappointment.
Not all of them were personal though.
Some were general disappointments about some specimen of the human race who undeservedly ended up holding positions of power and responsibility.
And most of the time, I turned around to realize I was the only one who demanded more of himself, of society, and of the world.
I describe some of those events in this speech here:
I leveraged my self-induced desperation, went into Monk Mode, and created The Power Moves.
Owning The Dark Side
Tim Grover in Relentless says that all top performers are driven by a dark side.
Michael Jordan was driven by a constant chip on his shoulder.
In his hall of fame enshrinement speech, which is supposed to be about reminiscing, fun and good memories, Jordan talks about the coach passing him over and Jordan wanting to prove him wrong.
Michael Jordan was mostly driven by dragons
The dark side is something most people would disapprove of and that’s why you don’t see it from most highly successful individuals.
But if you really want to own your dark side, you can’t be ashamed of it.
You gotta own it within yourself first.
And then you can own it in front of the world, too.
Don’t Stay Stuck In The Dark
Not everything in your dark side is positive.
Some negative examples of the dark side which might lead to negative outcomes include:
- Thirst for power
- Unquenchable craving for winning
- Need for external recognition
But they don’t have to lead to negative outcomes.
How you use it, is up to you.
In any case, though, I don’t recommend you stay stuck in your dark side.
Albeit the dark side is helpful in reaching incredible heights, it does not make for a high quality of life and it’s not very healthy.
I will quote Nietzsche here:
Whoever fights monsters shall see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.
Remember, you never let the dragons control you.
The goal is to harness them, to use them, so they can help you fly farther and higher.
And that’s the ultimate human conquest: harnessing the dark so that you can create more light.
For yourself, and for the world.
Controlling your dragons is about harnessing the dark, so that you can create more light