Leaning into the pain
I’m not sure when and how I learned it, but as a poker player I intuitively knew that I had to get my ass kicked a lot if I was going to get better. When I'd play HU cash (1 on 1 games for $) I wouldn’t play the weak players even though that’s obviously how you make profit. Instead I’d find the best players and play them. I’d of course lose a lot and I’d of course scream and yell and curse at my “bad luck.” I eventually got better though and started to beat those players. The same thing happened in tournaments. It’s frustrating as hell playing against someone who is better than you, they seem to always know when to put the bet in and when to check. You feel like you’ve no clue what to do, other than just wait for good cards. That’s a good thing, that’s the spot you want to be in. Well if your main goal is growth that is. It’s not exactly the best strategy for short term profit. I’ve had multiple six figure downswings because I took this strategy to the extreme and I did it without learning from others which was a huge mistake.
I realized that this principle of leaning into pain applies to anything, even relationships. I noticed that in my relationships 3 things would happen when I avoided difficult conversations: 1) After holding it in for so long eventually I’d explode. 2) I dont say anything about their actions but I distance myself from them and they get confused or upset which then creates this viscous cycle. 3) The relationship would get dull. I’m not exactly sure why but I guess it’s hard to have a good relationship when you’re holding something back. When I’d have difficult conversations I always learned something, either about myself or about them. It would be painful and difficult for days soemtimes but in the long run it was better.
There isn’t an easy method to learning to lean into pain, you just have to do it. Maybe that’s small steps, big steps, maybe that’s getting rid of any safety net so you have no choice. There are so many strategies that have merit but they all have something in common. They all involve you frequently doing things you think are painful. Write a list of painful actions, and do one. Start small, big, in the middle whatever you feel like. Just start. If you do it long enough you might even start to like it.
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