The False Rewards of Suffering

The business world often looks to sporting heroes for inspiration.  I came across the quote below on a Law of Attraction coaching page yesterday and was shocked.  Is this the only way?

I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
Muhammad Ali

The quote is completely the opposite to how I understand LoA to be of help. Suffer now, and you bring that focus and way of being into your life. Your powerful beliefs about success in the sporting arena could get you through to a major title, but then how does that belief in suffering backfire into the rest of your life?

There's no reason to buy into suffering in order to achieve success - that kind of contrasting feeling is just feedback from your mind and body to suggest there are thoughts and feelings you can change to allow for easier more satisfying growth.

Ali is still seen as a huge champion, an amazing achievement. But he's suffering considerably as a result of his diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. The world saw at first-hand his painful state of health at the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony. I would much rather we were able to see him celebrating good health AND being a champion.

But if I don’t suffer won’t I fail?

In business the push for excess effort has become the norm.  Long hours don’t mean a person is more productive.  An opinion piece from this week’s The New York Times draws together the science on working in a pressurised environment.  For example

In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out.

Pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits will seriously harm your productivity, affect your career prospects, and put your health at risk. In some cases it can even lead to a drop in share price for the company, as Lloyds banking group found two years ago.

What’s the mindful alternative?

Instead of a list of bullet points to launch into action to overcome the habit, I want to suggest a deeper approach.  Action will only let you deal with the outer surface of the problem.  Ask yourself 2 or 3 times a day:

What benefit do I gain by letting myself suffer in this situation?

Where you find answers that you don’t like, use your preferred mindset tool – Emotional Freedom Techniques is one of my faves - to deal with the emotional dissonance that comes up.  When you break the emotional hold a habit has on you you’ll find inspired new behaviour coming up to deal with stuck areas in your life.

Healthy in Mind viewpoint: Suffering stunts growth.  Instead cultivate new behaviours by changing how limited you feel in certain situations.

Article Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2013


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