How To Find Motivation Behind Pain

A surprising source of motivation and more.

As I am typing this, my arms are aching and my legs are stiff. Every ounce of movement I make is a battle and every step that I take, I limp.

No, I didn’t get stuck in an accident or injured myself.

I’ve been working out.

In fact, I finished my third session this week of four.

And the fourth is tomorrow.

This is the most times that I’ve worked out in a long time. And yet I’ve surprised myself this week with how much strength I have despite the pain I’m in.

But as I sit here thinking more and more about this pain in my arms and legs, the more that I begin to understand that this can be a powerful motivator for a number of people.

Naturally, when we think of pain many of us deviate towards a bad experience that shakes us mentally.

A loss of a job.
A recent failure.
Or a loss in the family or a close friend.

And those certainly can motivate us to do wonderful things.

That’s because no matter the circumstances of that pain, we get a boost of adrenaline. And that boost is all we need to do some incredible things.

The Pain Pushes Us Forward

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In the end, these physical and painful events can serve as a massive motivator as it puts us into a unique situation unlike anything else.

It provides us with a clear and distinct reason for us to achieve something specific.

Looking at this now, I realize I’m more motivated to work out despite the pain that I’m feeling because I want to be moving away from my past self.

I don’t want to be dealing with severe heart problems — which is prominent on my father’s side — when I get older. So it’s smarter for me to work out right now and develop those healthy habits while I’m still relatively young.

All the same, when pain is brought onto people many of us can find strength from those pains and push away from those events. It’s a prime motivator for people to fight back against an abuser in certain cases. That or work on running away from them.

Pain from working out encourages people to push through it so they can do those exercises better for the next time.

Pain in this light can serve as a prompt for us to envision our life moving forward.

What would happen if we stopped right now?

What would happen if we continued?

Answers to those questions can fill people with both dread and excitement and provide legit reasons for moving forward and taking action in our lives.

It’s akin to someone screaming at us and placing pressure in that sense where we can perform at a whole other level. Because we understand the costs.

And the costs are high enough for us to move forward.

Pain Can Identify Motivators

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But digging further into those aspects, pain can help you find a way towards what your prime sources of motivations are.

Going back to those questions above, we’ll feel compelled to answer them in different ways. We’ll gravitate towards some specific themes.

Themes like material possession, status, having a more fulfilling social life, or the sheer act of moving forward.

Those are all types of motivations and each one falls under one of the 4 M’s of Motivation.

  • Material Things- Money, Clothes, Cars, Boats, etc.
  • Mating- Social Life, Great Friends, Romantic Partner
  • Mastery- Respect, Class, Status
  • Momentum- Moving Forward, Action, Movement

This is important for us because we can begin to understand more about how we wish to live our lives.

If we’re moving forward with something that doesn’t truly inspire us then why are we going for it?

Why are we going through all this time, and even pain to get something we care nothing about?

It’s something I had to ask myself after I graduated with my degree in accounting. And my answer was simple.

It wasn’t worth it.

But if we pause and think about this pain and why we are going through all of this, we can dig up our true feelings.

The reason I’m working out is again to move away from my former self. My true motivation in this sense is simply taking action in my life and move forward towards a better self.

For you, it’ll be different.

But this layer of understanding is key because it can help you in motivating yourself for other things in your life.

You know what type of motivator you need for a project or to develop that habit you always wanted. The reason you know that is because that motivator is deeply tied to your inner self and not achieving it will bring far more pain.

Pain Forms A Part Of Your Life

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For sure the mental scarring that we incur in our lives will never get removed. We’ll remember the fights, the disagreements, and the people who were behind them. We cope with that through various means.

We move, get married, find a new job, or we might just binge on ice cream and watch Netflix for a few days.

We all have ways to cope with that.

But a lot of those pains are things that happen to us rather than things that we place on ourselves by ourselves.

We can’t run away from ourselves. Only who we were before then.

When we inflict pain on ourselves, mentally or physically, they become part of our lives.

Our muscles get stronger every time we workout with them. The pain that we experience is a sign that our muscles are getting stronger and learning to deal with the pain.

On a mental level, those pains can become stories that move us forward. We feel compelled to find a job because we know the pain of not having one.

We’ll start a business because we feel we’re at our wit's end and need to find something to stop the pain.

We’ll work hard at achieving our professional and personal goals because the pains that we’ve identified and place on ourselves will hurt more if we don’t achieve those things.

But from our actions of moving forward — however, we choose to move forward — will become stories that we share with others.

I’m still using my workout experience as a reason to write and I’m taking advantage of every aspect of it as I can to write about it and the things I’m learning from it.

There are a number of entrepreneurs and speakers who’ve talked about their harsh upbringings or the times that they were couch surfing while running a business.

There all painful stories, but they make us stronger and define who we are as people.

So what’s your pain?