It's hard to take action. It's painful.
Washing the dishes isn't fun. Meditation can be tedious. Waking up early is hard.
This discomfort in the face of action often paralyzes us from doing anything at all, so we sleep in. We choose to get lost in the rabbit hole of YouTube, Reddit, Instagram — letting clickbait dictate our next move while our lives slip into disarray.
We resign to inaction as the solution to avoid the pain of action, subconsciously aware of the fact that our stagnation breeds destruction. By avoiding the pain of action, we allow something worse to fester — the horror of watching opportunities pass us by. Our relationships grow distant, our bills stack up, our families grow old.
Pain is all around us. It's as much a part of life as death itself. No matter how impoverished or affluent your upbringing, pain is inescapable. It will follow you wherever you go. And this sobering reality leads many into nihilism and despair, but not everyone knows that there's another way to look at things: pain can be bargained with. It takes from us, but it can also give back — it just depends on which pain we choose to embrace…
There are two types of pain: The pain of action, and the pain of inaction.
The pain of action is blunt, in your face, and forces you to grow. For every hour we suffer through sharpening our skills, being proactive and restoring order, we don't reduce the amount of pain we face, but rather, we take it on the chin. We sign up for it up front — and because of this voluntary acceptance, day after day, we gain the strength to shoulder it. By embracing pain, instead of running from it, we are simultaneously transformed by it — we become someone we are proud of, someone that others can depend upon, which in turn gives meaning to the pain. And it's this feeling of growth and progress that helps us feel useful to others, useful to ourselves, which gives the suffering a purpose.
The pain of inaction, however, is the pain that eats away at you. A poison. It is slow-burning — draining your will, and decaying your soul. By descending into apathy, things disintegrate. Entropy. By "letting ourselves go", we lose self respect. Negligence. By vegging out on the couch for days on end, things fall into disorder. Inaction is the holiday of fools, who trade temporary discomfort for long-term, existential suffering.
So which pain will we choose?
Action is a life-giving breath; inaction is a slow death.