An extraordinary life is not all sunshine and rainbows. I believe that in order to achieve anything extraordinary you have to suffer. Therefore, for an extraordinary life, your life has to have some kind of suffering. In one form or another. You might think this is bullshit, but hear me out. It will get clear by the end. If it isnt, well, tough luck and thank you for reading, and do enjoy your life without suffering.
To be extraordinary you have to understand the concept of, Suffer to suffer less.
Suffer, to suffer less. Sounds Zen-ish, right? Probably because it is.
But I heard it the first time in an interview out of the mouth of the former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. GSP as shorthand.
What is UFC?
Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is where people punch the shit out of each other for money.
Two people face each other in a ring. They fight. They believe themselves to be warriors. In a way there are, in other ways they arent. In most ways I think they are.
GSP studied karate and Zen and Buddhism and the way of the warrior. Samurai shit. Just your general all purpose bad-assery. In fact he created his own extraordinary lifestyle, fighting for a living, so he is free to do whatever the hell he wants.
Funding one’s own freedom. I diggit.
He fights and suffers, to be able to fund his own extraordinary life, where is free and able to do what he wants, and where he suffers less.
So, according to Zen and GSP:
Suffering is the currency for freedom, and in a way for an extraordinary life.
In the interview, he explained the concept ‘suffer to suffer less’ further:
GSP believed that a certain healthy amount of suffering sets a benchmark. One knows how much one can take. Then if something comes along, and is below that level of suffering, you feel at ease. Not in stress.
You can interpret this concept in many ways. Even though, I know most of y’all would’ve already bounced after that first sentence.
Yuck. Why in God’s name would I do that!
Let me drop a truthbomb on ya. In one way or another, you are going to suffer. Eventually.
Be it mildly. Or badly. Or it might be ticklish.
Or why-the-hell-is-this-happening-to-me batshit crazy bad.
So yeah, welcome to the Suffering. Which might sound like a bad oneliner, but really it is a way of living.
A warrior’s way of living.
When you train, you suffer but you get stronger. You set that threshold. Below it, you suffer less, you are at ease. Above it, you suffer more. So you have to keep training yourself. Keep increasing your tolerance of suffering.
A quick summary:
Training is suffering.
The next time, you suffer less.
Now, like my engineering professor always used to say, Start from the end result you want, and trace it back to a question, and from there find the solution to your problem.
The desired end result in our case:
Our own extraordinary life.
How do we achieve that extraordinary life?
The answer to this is simple:
It sounds simple. But it is most definitely not easy.
If life and shit and adversities and external impediments, make you suffer.
Then how do you suffer less?
By suffering. Create your own tolerance for suffering. Set that threshold.
Get in front of it. Anticipate what kind of suffering is coming, and brace yourself.
Steel your mind, callous your body, toughen your heart, and strengthen your soul.
You are like a warrior general in a castle in winter under siege. Behind safety of your fortress walls.
The safety is temporary. This safety is not guaranteed.
Therefore, fortify your walls.
Because you might never know when the enemy ramps up the pressure.
And if you never suffer, then how will you know if you’re extraordinary?