Fighting Through the Pain

In Family, Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on May 7, 2010 at 10:22 pm

It is said that “when the going gets tough…the tough get going.” Whenever I hear that line, I can’t help but be reminded of John Belushi delivering this message with brilliance in one of my all-time favorite movies, “Animal House.”  And though it was meant to induce laughter, in actuality, it was also a life lesson about what a determined mind can accomplish.

When I started on my journey in pursuit of health, wealth and “happyness,” I did so by taking small steps.  After a fairly dormant period of physical activity, I started walking nearly every day to get exercise.  And while it was better than doing nothing, the reality is that it was never very challenging physically.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but in retrospect, I think that the walks were more effective as a way to clear my mind and get lost in thought than they were to help me to get into shape.

Over the past few weeks, I started a very demanding exercise program.  The workouts only last about 20 minutes, but they are much more taxing than walking for two straight hours.  When I am finished with the workout, I am physically spent, and need some time to recover before continuing my day.  I was told by the person who designed the workouts that they will be easier to complete once I am in better shape, and I believe that will be the case.  However, it does not mean that it will always be easier from one workout to the next.

The first few times that I did the workout, I seemed to be making progress.  However, the last workout seemed more difficult, and it felt like I was regressing.  I don’t think that I am actually regressing.  I just had one of those days where it is hard to get going.  During the workout, I was getting down on myself for not doing as well as I had been previously, but I fought through the pain and kept going.  At some point, I must have gotten a boost of adrenaline, because I finished the workout stronger than I began (even though I was already exhausted).

As adults, we tend to make excuses and find ways to avoid fighting through the pain (at least that has been the case for me in the past).  Although I’m sure that it is partially physical, I think that a lot of it has to do with our mindset.  I’ve witnessed first-hand how different it can be with kids.

In recent weeks, as the weather has gotten warmer, my son has been getting stomach cramps during football games and practices.  We finally figured out (through one of the parents who is a nurse) that it was most likely due to the fact that he had dairy products right before football.  Apparently, the dairy starts to curdle in your stomach as it heats up, causing stomach cramps.  My son took himself out for a while when the cramps came on, but quickly returned to action.  Ultimately, he ended up having one of his best games while playing through the pain.

It would be understandable if a 7-year old succumbed to pain while playing sports and chose to stay on the bench.  After all, playing sports at this age is supposed to be about fun.  And it is.  But there is also a sense of team, and no one wants to be the one that lets their team down.  It has been very inspiring to watch him fight through the pain and give his best effort.

Even though I would only be letting myself down if quit during a workout, I realize that it is important to stay the course because it is a slippery slope back to inactivity if I start making excuses instead of fighting through the pain.  As the saying goes…“No pain, no gain…no guts, no glory!”

  1. I need the inspiration – but I first need to get some physical issues cleared. I applaud you and Zach for having the determination to finish
    the projects…You know he is learning by your examples. Great teacher!

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