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To Achieve Success You Must Overcome 7 Stages of Pain


Pain is the path to success. Yet, most people just want success in life without going through the hurdles we must face to achieve it. Success is like climbing a mountain with the different plateaus you cross along the way, which are met by unpredictable ups and downs.

Success in life is built by taking risks, facing fear, and becoming self-aware. By subjecting yourself to pain, you learn how to build resilience to it, allowing yourself to gain confidence to push onward towards your dreams.

Everyone dreams of success, and most want to have it in the quickest timeframe and by taking the easiest path. But success rarely, if ever, works in that linear fashion. We go through typical stages of pain in hardship to achieve ultimate success, and the rewards from doing so are so much higher when you do.

No Pain, No Success

We often hear the phrase “no pain, no gain,” but have you ever given it deep thought? The true meaning behind this common phrase is that you don’t feel like you have succeeded if no pain or hardship were involved. You wouldn’t get that feeling of satisfaction if you didn’t work for it because of the direct correlation of success that comes from the hardships along the way to achieve it.

In essence, success does not feel earned if it wasn’t accomplished without pain and suffering. When you thrive against significant roadblocks and failure, it is only then that you acknowledge your achievement. When you get to the highest levels of your success, you tell yourself, “I am glad I faced all that trouble. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

This article is based on a recent Passion Struck Podcast. Click here to listen to it. 

I can tell you that suffering pain has been the foundation for any success I have achieved. If you missed last week’s episode, I talked about what happens when your success and happiness are materialistically motivated vs. focused on intangible things. These two episodes go hand in hand and I would encourage you to listen to them if you haven’t done so.

So what are the different stages we encounter as we endure pain to achieve success?


Self-doubt plays an integral part in making you successful. When you are doing something that matters a lot to you, you are highly likely to question yourself. But when we are constantly challenging our inherent abilities and our actions, it leads to better thinking, leading to a better result. The road to success is long, with many obstacles. So when you are in a pinch, you start to doubt yourself. Utilizing that feeling will help you sort things out.

A great example of self-doubt can be illustrated through Tom Hanks, who has said that he feels the pressure to perform even today. He uses his self-doubt to strengthen his ability to perform, thinking that he will let everyone down if he doesn’t perform well.

Even the famous American author John Steinbeck had a period of self-doubt and once said, “I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people.” However, he fought against it and eventually won the Pulitzer Prize in 1962.

 The Temptation to Give up

When we start something new, it usually starts out being hard, like working on a New Year’s resolution, starting a new job, forming a new habit, or beginning a new challenge. And I am sure you know many people who start out with a whole load of steam as they tackle this newly found goal, but as soon as they hit a roadblock, they give up on their path instead of working through the problems. Robin Sharma says “Any change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and glorious in the end.” It is human nature to want to be as successful as possible within a minimal time frame and minimum effort. But wanting a result and doing the work to attain it are two different things.

You will face many challenges, distractions will take root, and you will experience unexpected issues along the way. That is when you might opt to give up. Do you just give up just because of some setbacks? No! During these times, you prepare yourself mentally, grow, regain control of it, and carry on despite the hurdles in life.

A perfect example would be that of Katy Perry: At an early age, Katy Perry dropped out of high school and released her first album in 2001, which turned out to be unsuccessful as only 200 copies were sold. Because of her strong religious background, many industry elites didn’t want to back her, and she was told no on many occasions.

Later in 2003, her contract with Island Def Jam was terminated, and in 2004, her work was abandoned after she was 80 percent complete. After failing so many times, you would think she might give up, but she didn’t. She did odd jobs and waited for her opportunity. Finally, in 2006 she joined Capitol Music Group and released her hit song I kissed a girl. There she finally got her commercial recognition. By enduring defeat and persevering through it, her career reached meteoric heights.

As Dale Carnegie said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Facing Failure

Failure can be your best friend and your biggest enemy simultaneously. The only thing that defines failure is your perspective about it. Understandably, you do not want the label of a failure, but that doesn’t imply that you give up on your dreams, goals, duties, and ambition.

Instead of seeing it as your enemy, welcome it and think of it as a lesson you need to learn for your growth. This positive attitude will turn the tides, and every failure will start to bring you one step closer to success. I’ve known many people that kept experimenting, kept failing, remained persistent, and succeeded. The key is to not give in to the fear of failure and keep moving forward.

Quote by John R. Miles on why pain is the path to success

A great example of someone who faced failure is Henry Ford who left his job to establish Detroit Automobile Company with $150,000 of investor money. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt, but his investors had faith in him and invested in the Henry Ford Company in 1901.

But this venture also failed. Despite all this, Ford accepted his disappointment and tried again and established the Ford Motor Company in 1903. This time, within five years, he succeeded and rewrote the history books with the release of the Model T. This teaches us a lot about bouncing back after a failure.

As Roy T. Bennett said“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”

Accepting Responsibility

It is often the case that there is a goal you want to achieve, but you find yourself getting in your own way. I did an episode about why you need to stop being a visionary arsonist. It is so easy for us to arson the things we want to achieve in life. But, when we do, the first step is to acknowledge and take responsibility for our actions and start solving them.

One of the most incredible comeback stories that come to my mind is that of actor Robert Downey Jr. We see the famous actor today and his success playing Iron Man and other roles. But, not too long ago, Hollywood labeled him as unhirable.

Downey was introduced to drugs at the age of 6 by his father. Downey was constantly doing drugs throughout his early years as an actor, and the addiction led to several arrests and severe reputation hits. He recognized that his addiction was a problem, so he was sent to rehab several times, but he failed each time to quit.

Then in 2003, he came out clean after being in a court-ordered drug treatment program and his wife giving him an ultimatum. After completely controlling his problem, he has achieved tremendous fame and success while rebuilding his reputation and reinventing his life.

Embracing Rejection

Rejection is something we all face. Who hasn’t been rejected from a job, a role in a play, making a sports team, a person we wanted to date, or another goal we desired at some point in our life? There can be countless reasons behind the rejection. But whatever the reason, if your face rejection, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to do it or that your work is a failure. Look at it, work on it, find a better way to attain it, and be confident about it.

The words “the Beatles” and rejection seldom appear in the same sentence, but there was a time when they faced near career-ending rejection. The band had been together for nearly five years when they auditioned for Decca. During their audition, the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, selected 10 novelty covers of songs popular in America which they tried to sing with American accents.

The overly confident quartet only did three originals during the session and was told by the Decca executive that guitar bands were not the future of music. What a colossal mistake. Three months after the Decca rejection, they were signed by a subsidiary of EMI and sold hundreds of millions of records.

The critical thing to note here is that Decca’s rejection is now considered one of the most foolish mistakes ever in the music industry. When you face rejection, you accept it and work on it instead of giving up.

Facing Criticism

How often have you seen great achievers getting criticized in the news, on social media, and other platforms? They bring forth world-changing ideas and opinions that go counter to the status quo, and criticism is sure to follow.

Why do people criticize and humiliate successful people?

The simple fact is, people are envious of others’ success. After all, it is way easier to throw stones at others’ work and achievement than to have the confidence to take risks, work hard and do the same. They use it as a defense mechanism to shield their insecurities and failures by doing their best to knock successful people down.

That is why it is so important to surround yourself with people who bring you up and not tear you down. With success will come criticism. There is no way around it. So, accept the fact that some people will dislike your work, some will love it, and there will be some who will dislike you no matter what you do or what you achieve. Welcome them with a smile and let your success speak for you.

Encountering Discouragement

It is said that you should keep your dreams to yourself because it is only you who truly knows of the significance it has in your eyes. Everyone sees and judges something with their perspective, so people will likely discourage you when sharing your ideas. While it’s vital to get a second opinion about something, do not blindly agree with what people have to say. Had I done so through my career, I would have never accomplished a fraction of what I have done.

Narrow-minded people tend not to see the depth of your vision and try to steer you in other directions because they don’t share the same passion as you do. The road to success is full of challenges, so I want you to believe in yourself and never give up on your ambition no matter the obstacles along the way.

How Can You Apply Today’s Lesson About How To Achieve Success?

Earlier this morning, while I was doing a spin class, the instructor discussed that if you grow and get the most out of the workout, the advancement would be equal to the effort and pain you felt in achieving it.

Whether it is success in enhancing your physical fitness, relationship, career, or life in general, real work needs to be done to create the results you hope to achieve. Just as “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” neither is success in your life. Like any self-growth or achievement that is desired, it is a process that needs constant nurturing. There will be ups and downs along the way. Successfully climbing those mountains and overcoming the plateaus you encounter are the keys to achievement.

If you want success in life, you will most likely endure self-doubt, the temptation to give up, failure, owning your responsibility for that failure, rejection, criticism, and discouragement. The resilience you show in overcoming these stages will define the ultimate success you will enjoy.

The Passion Struck podcast is helping men and women learn how to go from being passion struck to becoming passion STRUCK and unstoppable. Listen to the Passion Struck Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts online. For more information, if you are in a toxic relationship, click here

Check out my latest article on 7 ways to create mental strength.



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