If It Doesn’t Suck, It’s Not Worth Doing

By Benjamin P. Hardy, medium.comDecember 21st, 2016

According to psychological research, the anticipation of an event is almost always more emotionally powerful than the event itself.

The dread of asking your boss for a raise is paralyzing and can last months. Yet, once you get yourself to finally do it, it’s over before you know it. The excitement of attaining some object or objective can become obsessive. Yet, shortly after you obtain your desire, you’re bored and in search of something else. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, Cornell psychologist.

Interestingly, your mind can seduce you so much so that the idea of something becomes more satisfying than the thing itself, so you stop at the idea and never make it real. Thus, in his new book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday explains that a primary obstacle to success is the idea of success.

It’s so easy to dream.

It’s easy to tell people about your ambitions. It’s easy to create vision boards and write down your goals. It’s easy to stand in front of a mirror and declare affirmations.

And that’s where most people stop.

The very act of dreaming stops you from achieving your dreams.

You’ve played-it out in your mind with such intoxicating detail that you become satisfied enough. You become numbed. And you deceive yourself into believing you’ve actually done something productive.

Consequently, when you attempt the activity itself, you immediately hit a stone wall of resistance. More often than not, you quickly distract yourself from the discomfort with some form of momentary pleasure. Yet, Robert Greene explains in his book, Mastery, that you can learn to love this internal resistance. In his words, “You find a kind of perverse pleasure in moving past the pain this might bring.”

How To Get Out Of Your Rut

In his book, Living with a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of being inspired by a certain Navy SEAL and consequently inviting him to live at Itzler’s home for a month. Itzler admitted being in a personal rut and wanted to shake himself out of his routine.

Day 1: “SEAL” asked Itzler, “How many pull-ups can you do?” Itzler squeaked out eight shaky pull-ups.

“Take 30 seconds and do it again,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did six, struggling.

“Take 30 seconds and do it one more time,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did three, at which point his arms were exhausted.

“Alright, we’re not leaving here until you do 100 more,” SEAL stated. Itzler was puzzled. “Alright, we’re gonna be here a long-time. Cause there’s no way I could do 100.” However, Itzler ended-up completing the challenge, doing one pull-up at a time. Thus, SEAL convinced Itzler that he could do way more than he thought he could.

The principle SEAL taught is what he calls the 40% rule — which essentially means people feel maxed-out mentally and physically, and thus stop, when they are at only 40% of their actual capacity. Going past this 40% capacity is when it becomes uncomfortable. Thus, SEAL’s mantra, “If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.”

The Power Of Objective-Based Pursuits

“The pain is a kind of challenge your mind presents — will you learn how to focus and move past boredom, or like a child will you succumb to the need for immediate pleasure and distraction?” — Robert Greene

Like Itzler who shattered a mental barrier by completing 100 pull-ups, you too can get out of your rut by pursuing tangible objectives.

The concept is: Do something and don’t stop until it’s complete, no matter how long it takes.

Your goal is to learn how to accomplish hard things without continuously distracting yourself. You want to develop what Greene calls “A perverse pleasure” in experiencing internal conflict, and sitting with it.

This concept is embedded in Crossfit. Unlike most people, who check their smartphones between exercise “sets,” at Crossfit, you have a specific objective and you kill yourself until it’s done.

If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.

You can apply this principle to anything and everything. You can do a homework assignment and just do it until it’s complete. You can write an article and stick-to-it until it’s published. You can do 100 pull-ups, or run 5 miles, and go until you’re done. Who cares how long it takes?

The Greatest Opportunity In History

In his book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport states the following:

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”

Without question, we live in the most distracted time in human history. It is almost impossible to remain focused on a single-task for more than a few minutes at a time.

The law of opposites is in affect. With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While most of the world is becoming increasingly distracted, a select few are capitalizing on this fact.

Hence, Economist Tyler Cowan has said, “Average is over.” The middle-class is gone. Either you’re among the select few who are thriving, or you’re like most people who are distracted, overweight, and struggling.

The choice is yours.

When something sucks, do you quit? Or do you push-through and eventually enjoy the satisfaction of growth and success?

Anything worth doing is going to suck at the beginning. Anything worth doing is meant to require pain and sacrifice. Herein lies the problem facing America, which originally was built on the moral of impulse control. What once used to be a country filled with people sacrificing momentary pleasure for a better future, the overpowering message of today is live for the moment.

And that’s exactly what people do. They live for this moment. Consequently, when something sucks, or becomes hard, most people quit. Most people indulge themselves in momentary satisfaction at the expense of a better future.

To make matters worse, the twin “truth” of today’s culture is love yourself for who you are. The self-esteem movement of the late 20th century is an enormous contributor to America’s faltering success.

People are taught to love themselves regardless of their performance. Thus, they justify mediocrity. Yet, Asian’s and other immigrant groups who often are considered to have low self-esteem consistently outperform American’s who have high self-esteem.

Unlike in other parts of the world where hard work is seen as a virtue, the repeated phrase in America is: “Don’t work too hard!” Success these days is to get as much as you can for as little work as possible.

In the book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld explain that most successful people not only control their impulses, but also have an implicit sense of inferiority.

These people may have confidence, yet, they remain unsure of themselves. They have a chip on their shoulder due to being oppressed in some way. So they continuously push themselves, regardless of how successful they become, to prove themselves. They are never satisfied with what they’ve done. They continue to feel inferior.

These very traits are awarded in today’s economy because they are so rare. Again, few people control their impulses, but instead live for the moment. And few people, especially in America, have any sense of inferiority. Rather, most people have bought into the myth that you must first love yourself before you can become successful.


True confidence is earned. It’s earned by succeeding. Not by wishing for success.

True confidence emerges when you consistently push-through things that suck. The longer you sit with the boredom, pain, and discomfort — and actually create something meaningful, the more confident and successful you will be.

Hence, Ryan Holiday explains in an interview with Lewis Howes: you are rewarded for the work you actually accomplish. Not the promises you make.

Doing the work is hard.

Getting into elite physical condition is brutal.

Building deep and committed relationships is nearly impossible. Most marriages end in divorce.

Developing deep spiritual maturity requires giving-up who you want to be for who you really are.

All of these things “suck,” at least initially, and in-the-moment. However, if it doesn’t suck, it’s not worth doing. And you absolutely can learn to endure the discomfort of the moment to build a life worth having.

If you’re stuck in a rut, like Itzler, challenge yourself to complete specific objectives — no matter how long they take.

Pleasure Vs. Happiness

“A life that doesn’t include hard-won accomplishment and triumph over obstacles may not be a satisfying one. There is something deeply fulfilling — even thrilling — in doing almost anything difficult extremely well. There is a joy and pride that come from pushing yourself to another level or across a new frontier. A life devoted only to the present — to feeling good in the now — is unlikely to deliver real fulfillment. The present moment by itself it too small, too hollow. We all need a future. Something beyond and greater than our own present gratification, at which to aim or feel we’ve contributed.” — The Triple Package

True happiness — joy — is fundamentally different than momentary pleasure. Not to say momentary pleasure is inherently bad. However, it often gets in the way of something more real and lasting.

Anything worth doing brings a satisfaction that distraction never can. Don’t give into the resistance. Push through the difficulty. That’s where a joy that those who stop will never taste.

Said Geologist James Talmage:

“Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it brings no regret, entails no remorse. True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of pleasure may leave a barbed sting, [as] an ever-present source of anguish.”


Doctors: Seriously, Stop Sticking Q-Tips In Your Ears

Originally written in Gizmodo by Ryan F. Mandelbaum.
I tingle just thinking about the full-body sensation accompanying a Q-tip exploring the inside of my ear canal. But the guilt-ridden pleasure is always followed by a nagging mother whisper: “don’t put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear!” Well, scientists have decided to amplify that whisper.

 The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published an updated set of guidelines on managing ear gunk today in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. The recommendations don’t contain many surprises, but they’ll definitely give you another reason to worry—screw around inside your ears too much and you might give yourself earwax impaction, which is basically a stuffy nose for your ear.

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is essentially the snot that serves to grease up the inside of your ears and trap any invading dirt particles. Your body normally deals with earwax buildups just fine, by circulating old wax out of the ear where it crusts up on its own, and by growing more skin cells, according to the report. If that process breaks down, though, earwax might build up in your ears, making it difficult to hear or resulting in a feeling of stuffiness. Around 10 percent of children and five percent of adults suffer from this problem, with numbers higher in older or developmentally-delayed folks. New data on cerumen impaction motivated the release of new recommendations for how to deal with it.

 The report can be summarized as follows:
  • Don’t clean your ears too much.
  • Don’t put small things like Q-tips into your ear. Sorry, I know, but Q-tips can push earwax further inside your head, making impaction worse or irritating the inside of your ear.
  • Call a doctor if you have symptoms like ear pain, hearing loss or stuffy-headedness that might not be from earwax.
  • If you’re suffering from earwax buildup, ask your doctor about safe ways to treat it.

And don’t even try ear candling, an alternative medicine procedure that involves lighting a candle over your ear to try and draw the wax out. It doesn’t make any sense and you’ll probably just get candle wax in your ears.

Your biggest takeaway should be that the earwax belongs inside your ears, and if you do end up with earwax impaction, call your doctor who can remove the wax manually.

[American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery]


Why is revenge wrong?

Why is revenge wrong? by Dushka Zapata  Revenge is bad for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that it forces you to focus your energy on another instead of on yourself.

Answer by Dushka Zapata:

A beloved friend of mine is in the middle of a nasty divorce and spends a lot of time thinking about how to get back at him.

She and her closest friends talk badly about him and his behavior, how he wronged her, what a bad person he turned out to be.

He cheated on her.

In her mind, he carries all the blame. She is the victim.

How many times has she been in a similar situation?

How many things in common does he or his behavior have with her past relationships?

I don’t mean to imply she is at fault.

What I am saying is that if he carries all of the blame, she carries none of the power.

This same pattern will present itself over and over, because she places the blame on another, which frees her of responsibility and leads to her continuing to do the very same things.

We already know that doing the very same things lead to the same result.

Revenge is bad for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that it forces you to focus your energy on another instead of on yourself.

I would much rather she turn her attention on identifying what she needs to do differently so that she never has to go through something like this again.

Why is revenge wrong?

What are the top ten things I should experience in life?

What are the top ten things I should experience in life? by Piyush Verma

Answer by Piyush Verma:

  1. Stage fright
    It makes you confident.

  2. Adventure Sports
    They make you feel alive and the make you understand the importance of each and every breath.
  3. Solitude
    To awaken your inner self.
  4. Life in Hostels (college, universities)
    Gives you the sense of being ordinary and crazy at the same time.
  5. Live with a dog.
    They will make you realize what unconditional love is.
  6. Experience the beauty of Nature
  7. Listen to stories of war survivors
    It makes them happy and proud of themselves.

  8. Take your parents out for a fancy dinner on your own money. Gives you the feeling of contentment.
  9. Fall in love
    as much as you can, all the pain is worth it.
  10. Try to bring a smile on the face of a child.
    You'll love the feeling.

These are some things I feel a person should experience in their life time. They might not be the top ten, but they are as important as anything else.

What are the top ten things I should experience in life?

What can you teach me that can be useful in my life?

What can you teach me that can be useful in my life? by Bassam Atheeque

Answer by Bassam Atheeque:

The 15 Cardinal Rules of Life:

  1. Good Relationship > Being Single >>>>>> Shitty Relationship
  2. Never leave your parents. NO MATTER WHAT
  3. Personality is not set in stone. You are able to take control or change it the way you like.
  4. People say “Follow your heart”. Not in every situation guys. Instead “Listen to your heart. Act With Your Brain”
  5. Never get confused to select between love and friendship. Both has its part to play
  6. Try to replace SORRY with THANK YOU in certain situations. For example, instead of saying “Sorry for being late”, you can say “Thank you for waiting”. It sounds more diplomatic.
  7. Never get too emotionally attached to anyone except your parents
  8. People say “Follow your passion”, I agree but with a slight modification. I believe “Follow your passion only if it is worthwhile”. Don’t rub two wet stones to make a fire. Rethink #4
  9. Time heals almost everything. Give some time and experience the change
  10. Thoughts control your Feelings. Feelings control your Actions. Actions control your Results. POSITIVE THOUGHTS = POSITIVE RESULTS
  11. When in anger, isolate yourself. Give yourself some time. Finally think about the situation again with a calm mind
  12. SMOKING, DRINKING, GETTING HIGH ISN’T COOL. The sooner you realise it, the better your life would be.
  13. Stop complaining all the time. SHIT HAPPENS. That is life. Learn to have an optimistic approach
  14. Ponder over #4 and #8 again
  15. Don’t just read; start ANSWERING in Quora. But not primarily for upvotes or followers. Experiment with your vocab, come up with new ideas, share your experiences, build your skills! Things come to you when they have to!

What can you teach me that can be useful in my life?