I have come to realize that in my work, my villain, my greatest enemy is the status quo. “Hard luck”, someone might say. It is the status quo that keeps the comfortable comfortable. It is the status quo that keeps us in the known, the experienced, and the tried and tested. Who wants to change what works?
Enter pain. The enemy of the status quo. But wait. Is it really “Pain?” What is the definition of pain? When you put all the pain definitions together, you will find out a common denominator: The interruption of the status quo.
Guess what? Pain is feedback. It tells you what’s uncomfortable and reveals where you are supposed to work on. But let’s look at pain from a totally different angle. Since we are not in control of external pain, let’s talk about the pain that results from our inspired actions.
You and I might not be in control of the pain of heartache, or accident, or job loss or death of a loved one or loss of revenue or business. That’s what life does to us. Even then, the idea of “Pain is weakness leaving the body” can be technically forced to apply there, but let me not venture for fear of diversion.
Weakness is that which is not needed in helping you and I fulfill our greatest potential. And guess where the weakness is always going to be found? It will always be found in the annals of the status quo. By the way, the status quo has a way of sugar-coating weakness and massaging it until we do not identify it.
When change comes, that weakness is exposed. It tells you that you are not prepared. You are not good enough (yet). You are a novice. That feeling can be very uncomfortable and this is where it is risky. The potential that people have can be aborted the moment initial pain comes.
You step out to sing and you mess up some chords on the guitar. That’s “weakness leaving the body”. If you are not careful, you simply would say, “I am not cut out for this”. When you are saying that, guess where you are gravitating toward? Status quo.
You stop out to speak to an audience. You forget the speech you had crammed. Words get lost. You become incoherent. You start feeling stupid about yourself. That’s not you being stupid. That’s status quo telling you to do something comfortable, or to do nothing that “embarrasses you”.
You forget that that was “weakness leaving the body”, thinking that your place of status quo—not delivering speeches, is your strongest point. Therefore status quo wins yet again.
Status quo has different ways that it keeps its turf consolidated.
Learn to see these as not you speaking.
Learn to see embarrassment as the mouthpiece of the status quo, telling you to keep being average and mediocre at the expense of fulfilling your great potential, so you can remain cool and accepted.
Believe me, it’s not cool to be awkward. Awkwardness is what you get every time you attempt something new. It’s what happened to you when you tried to speak, or crawl, but nobody laughed at you. In fact, people encouraged you those formative days. Somewhere along the way, the status quo won and now being awkward is being uncool.
That awkwardness my friend is in pain. Let’s agree. But it wasn’t when you were growing up. Now that it is, learn to switch the narrative. Believe that the shame and embarrassment is simply weakness leaving the body!
Status quo will invariably crop up a great garrison of defense, telling you that what you want to do is impossible. No one in the family ever did that. Why do you want to do what nobody has ever done? This works so well because the status quo knows that once the mind is convinced, the rest of the body follows.
However, you have to be willing to go against the grain of the “impossible” notion and win that battle in the mind. Don’t just let the status quo tell you it is impossible and you believe them. Try it out yourself and prove them wrong. When you do, it will be painful at the start. But that again is just weakness leaving the body.
We all love comfort. If there is any great weapon against success, it is the status quo and its greatest tool is comfort. Therefore, the status quo will greatly rise up against discomfort. Guess what discomfort is? It is weakness leaving the body. I kid you not.
The status quo will want to engage in something that has immediate gratification. If it’s not, then it is painful. So it will tell you to keep away from the “pain” because there is no immediately quantifiable gain. That’s why people would rather get employed than pursue their passion and become a genius with it.
If you are only engaging in things that maintain your comfort and are profitable right now, you are denying yourself some much-needed growth pain.
Every weapon that the status quo has against growth is powerful, but none of them is as powerful as comfortable distractions. These are things that offer immediate comfort, immediate satisfaction, and immediate fleeting fulfillment. Enjoyment is the key here and multitudes of people engage in this on a daily basis in different shapes and sizes.
But that is just stocking up weaknesses. That is why it is painful for some people when they cannot browse on their smartphones. It is painful for others when they cannot eat steak. It is painful for others when they cannot play video games. I have seen my son cry when there is a power outage because he can’t watch his favorite show on TV.
That’s a lot of stock of weakness. But when you are feeling the pain of not doing these things especially because you intended for it to be that way, that’s great weakness leaving your body.