The struggle is real (and necessary)
“What do you want out of life?”
For most of us, it’s the most important and determining question of our lives. And our answer to this seemingly important question is relatively the same: we want to be happy. That picture of happy might be a loving relationship, it might be a certain jean size, or it might be a certain picture of success. Any way you slice it, we’re all seeking to be some version of happy.
It’s easy to want happy. It’s easy to fall in love with the questions that give us the answers we want. Except that asking, “What do I want?” rarely gives us the happy we seek. We fall in love with that question. We fall in love with and fantasize about the result. But really, how often does asking that question actually bring us the happy we want?
A more interesting question, perhaps one you’ve never considered before is asking yourself:
“What are you willing to struggle for?”
Author and entrepreneur, Mark Manson, says that instead of focusing on what would make you happy (or what you think would make you happy), asking yourself, “What am I willing to struggle for?” is the question that really determines the quality of your life. Who you are is defined by the values you’re willing to struggle for and if you really want something, you have to be willing to sustain the pain and discomfort of the process that will take you there.
We believe that if we want it enough, that wanting will bring us to the place where desire meets dream. What we want is not as simple as just wanting it enough. Think about it – we all want something and we all want something enough. We all have that thing that we desire so badly, the thing we want enough, the thing we assure ourselves that we’d do anything to have. But the question is, when the struggle is real, is it also necessary for you? How willing are you to struggle?
Lately I’ve been struggling. A lot. I’m frustrated with feeling stuck in my career and I’m fearful – beyond afraid – that I won’t go anywhere, that this is as good as it gets. I’m emotionally exhausted in my current relationship, questioning if anything will ever change, if promises can be kept, if trust can be rebuilt…or if it’s just time to call it quits once and for all. This week the struggle was real but I didn’t want to take it on. Any of it. And so I went back to what I knew, taking out my frustration on my body with cleanses and weight loss supplements. In an effort to answer the question, “What do I want out of life?”, in an effort to be happy and gain a sense of control, I went back to fruitless answers, answers I stopped using for so long, dead-end answers that never took me anywhere but always promised to do otherwise.
The problem wasn’t that I was struggling. The problem is never that any of us experience struggle. We ALL struggle sometimes. The problem is not wanting to be in the struggle. When we’re unwilling to struggle, when we’re unwilling to make the struggle necessary, we only further perpetuate the struggle by acting as the resistance instead of the voice. Our struggle is a form of feedback.
Happiness requires struggle and there’s a 100% difference between asking, “What do I want?” and “What am I willing to struggle for?”
Am I willing to struggle for my career – for packed classes and becoming a brand ambassador and master trainer? Hell yes! I also recognize that part of that struggle isn’t that the comparing or inner dialogue won’t come up for me. The real struggle is for me not to accept it as fact, as my truth. The real struggle is to not fight for my limitations and to just show up as the best version of myself unequivocally.
Am I willing to struggle for my current relationship? Honestly, I’m not so sure and it’s something I’m sitting with this week. While I know every relationship has its up’s and down’s and difficult conversations and moments – I know I’m not willing to struggle for how it’s been. That’s a fight neither of us will win.
Am I willing to struggle for a better relationship with my body? Absolutely. But unlike the “Hell Yes!” to my career, this one scares me. If I say I am willing to struggle for that loving relationship with my body, it means I am willing to be more vulnerable, open and honest about my struggle. It means asking for and getting help on a regular basis, something I’ve fallen off the grid with. But it’s also a struggle I’m willing to be all in for as I don’t want to live my life as a statistic – I want to live as an example. What really threw this struggle into a non-negotiable must for me was being approached after class by someone who told me she admired my physique and she wanted to know my recommendations for diet. That was a huge wakeup call to practice what I preach.
This week I’m getting clear on what I’m willing to struggle for and it’s in the process of doing that that I’m also recognizing that up until this point I was focused on the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work like that.
The most simple and basic component of life is this: our struggles determine our success. So, what are you willing to struggle for?