As a species, humans have a natural aversion to pain, to struggle. We are programmed to think that if something is hard or doesn’t feel good, it’s probably working against us - that it’s going to be unproductive in the long run. In turn, we tend to hide behind books, behind programs and events that give us personal and public growth at a superficial level.
But where do you think real transformation comes from? Do you think it comes from a speaker on a stage? Maybe a coaching process or some high-priced guru? No — real transformation is what emerges when we confront the darkest corners of our lives and delve into the emotional waters most would rather avoid. Real transformation isn’t comfortable and it sure as hell isn’t something achieved through superficial means.
We must go deeper, stop looking for the easy way out. Fearless people understand this.
But what does that really mean? What does it look like: to break free from what you consider limiting? How do you force yourself to willingly walk towards something you know will be destructive and ugly, even if it means you’ll emerge on the other side transformed, healed?
Well, it means not falling prey to the path of least resistance. It looks like taking the route that’s not particularly comfortable or pretty, telling off the personal development and coaching industry that’s sold us on the notion that success, growth, and change come from being happy with a few minor uncomfortable scenarios that they categorize as “struggles” or “setbacks.” It looks like avoiding getting sucked into the business of superficial change and striving for something better.
Alright, fine. How do you tumble down this rabbit hole, though, especially when you know it will inevitably lead you on a journey full of potholes and pain?
The answer is simple yet never easy: you just do it.
You make yourself. You dig deep. You actively choose to put yourself through the ugliness and desolation that is needed; you face your deepest fears head on because you know it is the right thing to do. You seek help. You let someone in that can engage with your life — that can illuminate your blind spots, identify your stressors, and tell you exactly what has been holding you back. You take one step, then another, and another with them by your side, and you go through the process from the beginning to the end.
It’s a lot like the military.
You start with boot camp. Your weak spots are attacked by seasoned, hardened veterans who don’t hold back. You expose your vulnerabilities, and as you do so, they use them against you to make you stronger. You live in close quarters with people willing to break you in order to build you back up. With the military, you’re in life and death situations. You need to be focused, committed and powerful in order to survive. You need to transform from a regular civilian into something more.
Only those willing to sacrifice and endure will survive, and it’s exactly the same here.
This is why only the fearless run toward real transformation. No one else has the courage to go through such sacrifice, to persist against all that tries to push back.
It truly takes a person without fear, or perhaps more accurately, without the fear of fear itself, to “embrace the suck”.
If you want to change, this is exactly what you need to do.
As for what “embracing the suck” entails, it calls for you do whatever is necessary for progress that is unavoidable, even if it’s the most miserable and uncomfortable experience. You’ve got to choose to be strong when it’s hard to be so. Until you finally face things you would otherwise avoid or were oblivious to, you won’t be able to start your transformation and start performing as your optimal self.
Beyond everything, it’s essential you fully commit to truth and transformation. Worries of failure or pain? Those will only drag you down, restricting your personal growth and development.
Once again, recognizing this takes a certain kind of person.
Nobody wants to experience pain nor accept the hard truths that are precursors to it. All humans are afraid of it. Handling that kind of evolutionarily inherited terror is one of the ugliest, dirtiest jobs of real transformation. It stirs up some horribly tumultuous emotions and leaves us bare, vulnerable in a way that’s all too raw.
“Fearless” people still feel this. They just choose not to let it restrict them.
These folks know that not all pain is created equal. Some is good, a sign that they’re pushing past necessary obstacles and are stretching their limits to new heights. Some is bad, projected on us by a society that fosters feelings of rejection and abandonment, of scarcity and failure, in the name of selling quick fixes that make an even quicker buck. They use the former to fuel them and let them know they’re on the right track, while rejecting the latter, not allowing the allure of safety to pull them away from progress.
Why? Superficial change isn’t on their to-do list. They want the real deal, not the temporary high pushed by falsely famed coaches or expensive retreats. And if you’re here, I’d wager you do, too.
Actually, accomplishing this in our culture is one of the hardest things you could ever do. The ones who feel that “Ah ha!” moments at the end of the transformation process are the lucky ones — the exception, not the rule.
But challenge yourself, burst out of the stressors and pitfalls in your life, and fearlessly follow your truth wherever it leads. In doing so you will find the success of knowing what it feels like to live freely.