The ability to overcome pain is a superpower for the average person.
Let me explain.
Have you ever wondered why some people succeed and others achieve average results in everything they do?
There is one very simple reason.
Resistance To Pain.
By the end of this article you are going to understand how to overcome resistance to pain, smash through fear and maximize your performance for results you didn’t even know were possible.
Listen, I am a very average human being. Average height, average weight, average intelligence. I was given some things that are above average and some things that are below average… but you get the picture.
My below average talents? I can’t draw anything to save my life. I have no artistic brain cells. Check this drawing out… That’s me in my new shirt with a new haircut. Took me 4 days to draw that just right!
Having said that, If there are two exceptional gifts that I received from my parents. They are:
- a capacity for work and
- an ability to endure pain.
These two simple gifts have enabled me to achieve things that I probably shouldn’t have been able to.
A prime example of this was on my basic SWAT course. There were some physically gifted dudes who excelled in the gym and out running on the road.
They could bury me easily… BUT the big leveller was pain.
You see, during a short workout or run, I had no chance of keeping up with these guys. I have always understood that.
But as a workout or day progressed and the pain started getting introduced and the need to keep pushing overtook simple performance, I was able to equalize or surpass the effort of some of the more gifted people on the course.
We had a run one morning which involved a chase run. As recruits we would be given a 1 minute head start. Then the fastest guy on the existing team would launch and try to catch us.
If we were caught, it would be another hour of complete hell.
Imagine the fear I felt, knowing that I was an exceptionally slow runner in comparison to the other recruits.
At the time my fastest 3 mile time was around 19:00 and the guys on basic training with me could do it in 16 minutes flat.
There was no way in hell I would be the reason we were caught.
As we set out on a dead run around the lake trail route I knew it would be one of the hardest runs in my life.
About ¾ of the way around the track I started puking on myself, but my brain would tell my body to keep pushing. Thanks Mom and Dad!!
We didn’t get caught.
In fact we were the first group of recruits ever who hadn’t been caught. The guys on the team figured we might have taken a short route…No dice.
We ran our asses off and won that race thanks to a bunch of studs who could put the pedal to the metal and the rest of us who had the jam to keep up.
This is the reason I was able to make the team.
Long nights without sleep? No problem
Another Run? Yes Please
Pushups at the shooting range? May I have more sir…
Pepper Spray in the face and CS gas in the gas hut? No thanks… that scared me… but they gave it to me anyway and I’m still here to talk about it.
And that’s the simple answer. Success lies in your ability to overcome pain in any of its forms, whether it be physical, mental or emotional.
Those who succeed at anything possess this ability.
How do you get the superpower to overcome pain and it’s evil twin… FEAR? Let’s dig a bit deeper.
What exactly is pain anyway? Pain is part of your body’s natural defense mechanisms. When you touch a hot fire, the pain receptor shoots a super-fast message to your brain that says “Remove your hand, stupid!”
You pull your hand away and you save yourself from serious injury (and prevent future injury).
Well then what is fear? Quite simply it is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
The combination of these two has likely kept you, like all of us to some degree, from breaking through your limitations and enjoying wildly exhilarating experiences and life altering accomplishments.
I am going to outline some steps for you. However as the saying goes… You can lead a horse to water… my point is it will be up to you to unlock the magic the currently exists in your DNA that allows you to push through pain irrespective of where your current pain threshold is.
3 Keys For Developing Mental Toughness to Overcome Pain and Fear
Get Your Sh** Squared Away
Some people actually have a debilitating fear of death, which is strange from both a non-religious and religious perspective.
From a religious perspective, why would you be worried about death? If you bite the bullet you’re going to a better place full of family, friends and eternal life. You’ll probably have your favorite jeans to wear every day and a baller ride to cruise around in heaven… so don’t fear death, be thankful for the day it comes. Until then, push yourself and see what you can accomplish.
From a non-religious perspective, why would you care if take a dirt nap. You aren’t going to feel pain, everything is buttoned up. You are over, done. You don’t feel anything anyway. Instead live life to its fullest and push yourself.
Your only responsibility is to make sure you live your life in a way that would align with the fact you don’t know how or when you are going to die. Have your affairs in order so your family is looked after.
Once your affairs are squared away there is no reason to fear death. It is coming, you don’t know when so stop caring about it and live.
Determine and Embrace Your “Why”
You must clearly and specifically define your reason for doing what it is you are doing.
When I joined the Army it was out of a deep sense of national pride. I wanted to serve my country and be the best soldier I could possibly be.
For SWAT I wanted to be a part of an elite team. It just so happens that it was my personal belief this crew was among the best in the world. I’ve trained with many many teams and operators, my team was always at the top of their game… that was my “why” and the reason I could push through pain.
What is yours? Clearly define it. Be specific. Keep it at the front of your mind when the pain of achieving what you set out to do is working desperately to hold you back.
Alter Your Internal Dialogue
We all have a running internal dialogue. It can simply be positive or negative. When the pain, or it’s precursor fear comes on, awareness of your internal dialogue is critical.
Shifting to a positive dialogue can push you through to amazing gains. The conversation in your head is adjusted the moment negative self talk begins.
When the words..”I don’t think I can,” begin to enter your mind, they are replaced with, “I wonder how hard I can push, this should be good.”
Or perhaps you insert a mental image of your “why”. Develop a phrase or image that you can use to quickly shift so that pain turns to gain.
To wrap up this discussion I think you should understand something important. It never gets easier. It just becomes more enjoyable due to the result. The pain will always be there if you want to excel.
Overcome the fear and overcome the pain.
The person you are meant to be is waiting for you to flip the switch and unleash your superpowers.