— Frederick Douglas
The moral of a story is a lesson that is conveyed within the context of a story or event.
As an example…at the end of Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, in which the plodding and determined tortoise won a race against the much-faster yet extremely arrogant hare, the stated moral is “slow and steady wins the race”.
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth…a play that is set in medieval Scotland and dramatizes concepts such as ambition, power, greed, deception and treachery….the moral is “unchecked ambition and excessive thirst for power will ultimately lead to destruction.”
And in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea…a short novel that speaks to the universal truths of a man’s existence within this world, where pride, respect, tenacity, and dreams fuel a man in his quest to thrive in the face of struggle…the moral is “man is not made for defeat.”
As it relates to this post and your life for that matter, the moral is simple, raw and universal…
“Our struggles and suffering determine our successes, so choose your struggles and suffering wisely.”
Allow me to put some meat on these bones…
I’m of the belief that everyone wants what feels good to them.
We want to live a happy life, enjoy a toned physique, experience great friendships, engage in meaningful work, fall in love and have amazing sex, be well-respected and make enough money where our needs and wants are covered.
What’s not to like about that?
The problem however is that while everyone wants what feels good to them, most will never experience this type of life.
Why? Because they’ve unwisely chosen the wrong struggles and suffering.
Everything you want in life, every goal you want to achieve, every dream you want to manifest…all comes with a price tag.
There is NO FREE LUNCH when it comes to success or failure…you’re going to pay a price…you’re going to struggle and suffer either way.
To achieve any goal, to live a life that feels good to you…you must choose the suffering that’s right for you…you must accept that reality…you must embrace that truth…and you must live with it every day of your life.
The moment you choose not to continue to pay the price of success is the moment you choose to suffer the consequences of failure which is the worst kind of suffering.
Be very mindful that the suffering cost of failure is always going to be higher than the suffering price for success.
The cost and consequences of failure in a relationship, job, career or any area can cause a monumental amount of disruption, drama, stress and unhappiness.
The following are just a few examples of the suffering costs of failure:
• If you lack financial discipline you will suffer the consequences of debt and sleepless nights.
• If you do not manage your diet and exercise routine you will suffer the cost of diabetes and poor fitting clothing.
• By not investing quality time with your children, you will suffer by paying the price of regret the rest of your life.
To live an extraordinary life…you must deliberately choose to pay the price of success, or you will by default pay the cost and consequences of failure.
Sooner or later you will come to the understanding that you must “Choose Your Suffering”.
Both happiness and misery require struggle and suffering. Not one of us gets a free pass on this one…there are no exceptions to this rule.
The following are just a few examples of the suffering costs of success:
• If you suffer the costs of disciplined spending, saving and investing habits…you will enjoy peace of mind and early retirement.
• If you suffer the costs of daily exercise and proper nutrition…you get to enjoy a great physique and an exceptional quality of life.
• By suffering the price of love, forgiveness, attention and patience…you will enjoy a loving relationship with your spouse and children.
True success is something that is achieved by the minority of people, and is therefore unnatural and not to be achieved by following our natural likes and dislikes, nor by being guided by our natural preferences and prejudices.
That’s why your greatest challenge, and the most important decision you need to make in your life is to…CHOOSE YOUR SUFFERING.
You must decide if you are going to spend your life paying the price of success…or if you are going to pay the price of failure.
The choice is yours, but just in case you need to hear it one more time…the moral of your story is that “your struggles and suffering determine your successes, so choose your struggles and suffering wisely.”
I’ll wrap this up with a brilliant quote from Muhammad Ali who said…
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”.
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