The Most Important Question In Life Is Not “What Do You Want Out of Life?”
If you ask your friends and family “what do you want out of life?”, what do you think their answers will be?
If they’re like most people, they’ll respond: “I want to be happy”, “I want to be successful”, “I want to travel”, “I want to lose weight”, “I want to be fit and healthy”, “I want a happy retirement”.
How would you feel if they responded; “I want to struggle.”?
Would you call them crazy?
Mark Manson recently posted an article on Medium, in which he proposed that the most important question to ask ourselves is not “What you want out of life?”. Of course we all want the best, but just wanting it is not enough to have it.
Instead, Manson argued, the question that truly determines the outcomes in our lives is
“What pain do you want in your life?” What are you willing to suffer for?
Everyone wants to be fit and strong and live a long and healthy life, but not everyone is willing to suffer through the pain of early morning workouts.
Everyone wants to look great in a bathing suit, but not everyone is willing to sacrifice after work drinks, holiday cookies, or time on the couch in exchange for bootcamps and healthy eating plans.
Everyone wants to be independently wealthy, but not everyone is willing to suffer the stress of risk taking, 18 hour days, financial insecurity, and delayed gratification.
As Manson says,
“Happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative.”
So, instead of asking yourself, your friends, and your family “what do you want out of life?”, consider asking “What are you willing to suffer for?” What’s worth the struggle, the effort, and the focus?
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