Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Pursue pain.


Everything good comes from some kind of pain.
Muscle fatigue makes you healthy and strong.
The pain of practice leads to mastery.
Difficult conversations save your relationships.

But if you avoid pain, you avoid improvement.
Avoid embarrassment, and you avoid success.
Avoid risk, and you avoid reward.

Anyone can be their best when things are going well.
But when things go wrong, you see who they really are.
Remember the classic story arc of the hero’s journey.
The crisis — the most painful moment — defines the hero.

Improvement is transformation.
It brings the pain of loss of the comfortable previous self.
It brings the pain of a new set of problems.
Wealth brings the pain of responsibility.
Fame brings the pain of expectations.
Love brings the pain of attachment.
If you avoid pain, you avoid what you really want.

The goal of life is not comfort.
Pursuing comfort is both pathetic and bad for you.
Comfort makes you weak and unprepared.
If you overprotect yourself from pain, then every little challenge will feel unbearably difficult.

People say they’re not doing the work because it’s hard.
But it’s hard because they’re not doing the work.

Comfort is a silent killer.
Comfort is quicksand.
The softer the chair, the harder it is to get out of it.

The right thing to do is never comfortable.
How you face pain determines who you are.

Therefore, the way to live is to steer towards the pain.
Use it as your compass.
Always take the harder option.
Always push into discomfort.
Ignore your instincts.

Pain’s power relies on surprise.
If you expect it, it’s weaker.
If you choose it, it’s gone.

Choosing pain makes it bearable.
It loses its power to hurt you.
You become its master, not victim.

Pain is coming anyway.
Don’t get a shield.
Get a saddle.
Tame it.

Don’t wish for good luck.
Good luck makes you complacent.
Practice thriving with bad luck.
Bad luck makes you resourceful and strong.
No matter what the world throws your way, you can stand worse.

Choosing pain means pushing past your instincts.
Food that tastes good is bad for you, and vice-versa.
So don’t use your feelings as a guide.

Choose pain in small doses to build your resistance to it.

A daily ritual of hard exercise gives a great perspective on life’s other pains.

Put yourself into stressful situations.
Eventually, almost nothing will seem stressful.

Socially, try to get rejected.
Learn about “rejection therapy”.
Make audacious requests that you think will be denied.
This removes the pain of rejection.
And you’ll be surprised how often they say yes.

The best way to learn a foreign language is to stop speaking your mother tongue.
No matter how embarrassing or frustrating, communicate only in your new language.
Necessity is the best teacher.
But it hurts.

Practice taking on the various kinds of pain.
Attempt something that seems impossible — something that terrifies you.
Give a speech.
Do a ten-day silent meditation.
Quit a habit.
Apologize to someone you wronged.

Don’t congratulate yourself if your attempt avoids failure.
Remember: you want the pain.
The sooner you pay a price, the less it costs.

Be absolutely honest with everyone.
Stop lying, completely.
You lie when you’re afraid.
You lie to avoid consequences.
Always say the truth.
Take the painful consequences.

You weren’t meant to be idle.
You weren’t built for sitting and staring at screens.
You live to push, pull, climb, and grow.

The most exhilarating experiences in your life so far were daring.
Your proudest moments were overcoming a struggle.
The best happiness comes after some pain.

The best waves on the beach can knock you over.
That’s the best kind of play.

Since you can’t avoid problems, just find good problems.
Happiness isn’t everlasting tranquility.
Happiness is solving good problems.

That’s why we play games.
Games are challenges.
Any challenge can be turned into a game.

The English word “passion” comes from the Latin word “pati”, meaning “to suffer or endure”.
To be passionate about something is to be willing to suffer for it — to endure the pain it’ll bring.

But don’t be a masochist.
Be a scholar of pain.
Every pain has a lesson inside, and a reason why it hurts.
Analyze it.
Understand it.

Ghosts don’t leave until you’ve understood their message.
Problems persist until you claim them and solve them.
Face them directly and they’ll disappear.

First we figured out how to fly, then how to get to the moon.
After you conquer the little problems, you’ll face the better ones.

Facing pain helps you relate to others.
Your problems are never unique.
Whatever problems you’ve had, many other people have had the same problem.
We empathize with someone who’s struggling.
It opens our hearts more than seeing someone win.

Most people don’t get to choose how they suffer.
Once you tame pain for yourself, tame it for others.

The easy road leads to a hard future.
The hard road leads to an easy future.
Steering towards the pain is how to live.