No Pain, No Gain?


‘No pain, no gain,’ the age-old saying goes, and to a certain extent, the saying does prove true. Wealth does not grow if you do not invest, and knowledge isn’t gained unless you seek after it. Some amount of forbearance always precedes success. The same can be said about wellness.

Of course, this isn’t just about finances. In fact, you could easily shift to a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t deal damage to your wallet. Although you might have to fork up some additional money for some things. No, this applies to a lot of things that you will experience as you begin your journey to becoming a healthier, happier individual, building your life around the concept of wellness.

It can come in the form of physical pain; the sore muscles after giving it your all while you exercise, waking up early in the morning or making time in your busy schedule to do said exercise, or not being able to eat everything you crave because you want to avoid diseases such as diabetes, restricting your caloric intake to lose weight, it all takes sacrifices, and some more than others.

There’s also the psychological exertion you will have to exercise. It’s difficult to jog that last half-kilometre or push the physical limits of your body. It takes mental discipline and dedication in order to overcome such challenges, and push past mental exhaustion. Not just exercise, education, employment, or your own enterprise, this all applies there as well.

But just because forbearances can often be difficult or against our wishes, doesn’t mean they have to be painful. We can always find ways to strike a good balance, if you already know what you want and at what point you want to achieve it.

But even then, actually taking part and enduring said ‘pain’ has its value. It builds character, instils discipline, and gives you plenty to brag about once you’ve succeeded and people as the secrets behind your success. Of course, it’s always better to practice humility on your success, but you’ll still have a really good story to tell.

But all this doesn’t mean that all ‘pain’ is good. For example, it’s normal to feel sore all over after giving it your all in your favourite sport, or even building physical fitness (especially when you’re just starting), which is good. It’s dangerous, when you overwork your body, damaging your muscles and joints by exercising too excessively even when your body is signalling you to stop through the sensation of pain.

Likewise, it’s good to feel the ‘pain’ fatigue after giving it your all in the workplace, building your career. But if you overwork yourself, despite your body signalling you to take a break through the fatigue you experience, using caffeinated drinks to numb your exhaustion, you’ll find yourself in a self-destructive route that doesn’t end well at all.

You might question, ‘how do you recognise which pain is good, and when you need to stop?’

The best answer I can give you is to understand yourself, and your capabilities. We all can grow and improve ourselves, but be honest with yourself about where you are, and what you really need to do to get to the next level.

It is unwise to run faster than you can or lift more than what you’re ready for. Exercise wisdom in all things. A healthy dose of humility often helps jumpstart this process. Don’t be unrealistic, or compare yourself with anyone else.

Remember to push yourself. Stretch to do greater things, and to become a greater person. But make sure you don’t tear apart in the process. For your journey in improving yourself and obtaining wellness, I wish you well.

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage