Why You Have To Embrace Pain In Order To Grow

Run towards difficult situations, don’t avoid them

The Guvna
5 min readMar 28, 2020


Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

We tend to run away from painful situations by nature. We are literally built that way; our brains are wired for survival.

But the truth is sometimes those situations are exactly the ones we should be running towards.

I was reminded of this recently when talking to one of my friends about their career. They had recently taken up a high profile role in their organisation that was causing them a lot of stress. They were being advised to go back to what they were doing before as it would make for an easier life.

Not long ago I would have agreed. Why put keep yourself in a situation that involves a high amount of stress? Especially when there is an easier path available.

Life is too short to be uncomfortable, right?

This view was honed to perfection when I worked for all of about 9 months for one of the world’s largest management consultancy firms and I hated every moment of it. I like to say that it was the 16 hour days trapped side by side in tiny meeting rooms dotted with people I couldn’t always relate to.

But the truth is I hated it because I was constantly uncomfortable. I was well outside of my usual zone of knowledge and I couldn’t handle that feeling.

After just 9 months I decided to hand in my notice and leave within a few days taking up a 6 week freelance assignment instead.

This was some 5 years ago and when I reflect on it now, though I have no regrets, I do spot an excellent opportunity to learn and grow that was missed.

Here’s what I learnt from the experience and reflecting on it that could help you:

1 — Set Your Goals Upfront

If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. — Thich Nhat Hanh

This seems so obvious but it’s very easy to get it wrong; set your goals before you take on a new challenge.

When you’re absolutely clear about what you want to get out of a situation it won’t matter how much time has passed or how…



The Guvna

I write about personal development, cycling, fatherhood and everything in between.