Struggling Does Not Imply Suffering

LISTEN: For the audio version of this Letter, follow this link to Soundcloud.

Dear Friends,

As beautiful beings of this gorgeous green Earth, we are hard-wired to seek out safety, comfort, and convenience.


Because each of these, at least in our minds, equates to survival.

Growth is inherently dangerous. It requires us to stretch beyond our current situation and explore the unknown. 

Our brains don’t like the unknown. Even though we all possess the inherent capabilities that are required to be excellent and great in all we do, our minds want us to Netflix and chill.

I firmly believe we can override this wiring by making a choice. That choice is to allow growth to become a priority over comfort in as many areas of our lives as we can.

Most of us won’t make that choice. And I think it’s because we’ve become afraid of hard work. We’ve grown soft.

Now, there is a reason I use a lot of “we” and “us” in these Letters. Everything I say, I include myself. There’s no finger pointing here. We’re all in this together, and I’m just as susceptible as you are.

I worked hard in high school and college. I was a good student not because I was the smartest but because I pushed myself and set standards of excellence. I also had amazing parents who supported me and helped hold me to these standards.

We often work hard in high school as a means to get to college and then we work hard in college to get a job. If all that aligns, it means we've "made it," right? It's time to coast now. We got that job, so it means we're good now, right?

Nope. But, many of us do start to settle. We played the game society created for us and we "won." 

Well, my friend, the game has only just begun. But now the game has a new set of rules. Rules that are created, crafted, defined, and established by one person; you.

For many of us, this is where the fear of the unknown creeps in. Having had the first twenty or so years of our lives laid out for us on a definitive path, we are then thrust into the world and told to make of it what we will.

For me, I avoided this fear behind a bottle of booze. Usually, rum (I would have made a decent pirate I suppose).

This avoidance is was Steven Pressfield refers to as "Resistance."

I desperately wanted to create something for myself that would change the world, but I would always get in my way. The hard work and determination that had gotten me to where I was got lost in the mix. Instead of charging through the fear I would cower and hide.

I was not showing up to do my work.

So what did I do? I stopped hiding. To change the world, we must first change ourselves.

I realized that if I was going to make my time on this gorgeous green Earth worthwhile, then it was up to me to find out what I was made of and who I really was. 

I had to be the one to push myself. I’ve never had to fight for a meal or live on the streets. I’ve never had to fight for my life. But had I kept on the path I was on, I very well could have. I’ve come to recognize, we’re all earning our right to live in one way or another. We’re all in this together.

While we’re all in this together, it was up to me to find my limits and then push through them.

Life’s way of testing me was to give me the opportunity of comfort and conformity and see if I would settle.

Guess what? I’ll never settle. I’ll never stop. I can’t think of any genuine reason I would want to.

Because here’s what I've learned. Just because I’m struggling, just because I’m pushing myself in ways I never have before, I don’t necessarily have to suffer.

It’s uncomfortable for me to push my body in the ways that I do. But it’s fun for me. I place a higher priority on learning what my body can do than on accepting what is.

It’s uncomfortable for me to push my mind in the ways that I do. But it’s fun for me. I place a higher priority on learning what I can create than on hiding my gifts from the world.

I struggle. I struggle physically. I struggle mentally. I struggle emotionally. I struggle spiritually. I struggle all the time.

But I do not suffer. Struggle is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Suffering is a choice. If we want to accomplish anything worthwhile in our lives, then we will be challenged. But we don’t have to suffer.

Learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Be ok with things not going as planned. Don't hide. 

Let obstacles and challenges become opportunities for you to get creative, grow, explore, and play.

I don’t care how the media portrays our world. It’s beautiful out there. Challenging? You better believe it.

But I say, bring it on.

Let’s do this, my friends.

With all my Love and support,


Evan CookComment