Which Is The Most Important Question In Your Life?

The Most Significant Question of Your Existence

Everyone desires what brings them joy and satisfaction. Everyone desires a life filled with joy, love, and ease, where they can cultivate fulfilling relationships and experience personal growth. They strive to radiate confidence and success, earning the admiration and respect of others.

Everyone would appreciate that—it’s easy to appreciate that.

If I were to inquire, “What are your aspirations in life?” and you express a desire for happiness, a fulfilling family life, and a job that brings you joy, it’s become so common that it has lost its true significance.

Consider this thought-provoking question: have you ever pondered what kind of pain you truly desire in your life? What are you truly willing to strive for? Because it appears to have a significant impact on the outcomes of our lives.

What kind of pain are you seeking in your life? What are you truly willing to strive for?

Everyone desires a fulfilling career and the freedom to be financially independent. However, not everyone is willing to endure gruelling 60-hour work weeks, lengthy commutes, and tedious paperwork. Nor do they wish to navigate the arbitrary hierarchies of the corporate world or be confined to the monotonous existence of an endless cubicle. Many individuals desire wealth without taking any risks, without making sacrifices, and without practicing delayed gratification, which is essential for accumulating riches.

Everyone desires to experience fulfilling intimacy and a thriving partnership, yet not everyone is willing to navigate the challenging discussions, uncomfortable moments of silence, emotional discomfort, and psychological complexities that come with it.

They perceive pain as a universally negative experience to be avoided at any expense, but the truth is far more complex. In my Resilience Course in the Mark Manson Premium Subscription, I emphasise the importance of finding meaning in our pain. By doing so, we can discover a sense of purpose in our lives.

However, this fact often goes unnoticed by the majority of individuals. And so they find their place. They find themselves pondering the “What if?” question for an extended period of time, until it eventually transforms into a lingering sense of “Was that all there is?” And after the lawyers leave and the alimony cheque is sent, they wonder, “What was the purpose of all that?” What purpose did their lowered standards and expectations serve 20 years ago?

Embracing the path of happiness often entails overcoming challenges. Embracing the negative can lead to the emergence of positivity. One can only evade negative experiences for a limited time before they resurface with great intensity.

Deep within the essence of human behaviour, our needs are fundamentally alike. Embracing a positive experience is effortlessly manageable. It’s a challenging experience that we all face, by nature. Thus, the outcome of our lives is not solely determined by our pursuit of positive emotions, but rather by our willingness and capacity to endure negative emotions in order to attain those positive ones.

What we receive from life is not solely determined by our desire for positive emotions, but by our willingness and ability to endure and overcome the challenges that lead us to those positive emotions.

People desire a remarkable physique. However, one does not acquire such dedication unless they truly embrace the discomfort and physical exertion that accompanies spending countless hours in a gym. It also requires a genuine passion for meticulously measuring and adjusting one’s diet, meticulously planning every aspect of life into small, carefully portioned meals.

Many individuals aspire to embark on their entrepreneurial journey or achieve financial independence. However, one cannot become a successful entrepreneur without learning to embrace the risk, the uncertainty, the inevitable failures, and dedicating countless hours to a venture with no guarantee of success.

People desire companionship and a life partner. However, one cannot expect to attract someone truly remarkable without acknowledging and embracing the emotional challenges that come with facing rejections, cultivating unresolved sexual tension, and enduring the disappointment of a silent phone. It’s a fundamental aspect of the game of love. One cannot achieve victory without participating.

The key to your success lies in something beyond mere desires. Consider this question: “What pain are you willing to endure?” Your life’s essence lies not in the positivity you encounter, but in the wisdom gained from the challenges you face. To truly master the art of navigating through challenging situations is to truly master the art of embracing life’s journey.

Mastering the art of navigating through challenging experiences is synonymous with mastering the art of living.

There is an abundance of misguided advice that suggests that sheer desire is all it takes.

Everyone desires something. And everyone desires something deeply. They simply lack awareness of their true desires, or rather, the depth of their desires.

If you desire the rewards that life has to offer, you must also be willing to accept the sacrifices. If you desire a beach body, you must embrace the perspiration, the muscle soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you desire the yacht, you must also embrace the late nights, the daring business decisions, and the potential to upset a single individual or a multitude.

If you constantly yearn for something, but it remains out of reach no matter how much time passes, perhaps what you truly desire is nothing more than a figment of your imagination, an unrealistic ideal, a mere illusion, or a deceptive pledge. Perhaps what you desire may not truly be what you desire—perhaps you simply find pleasure in the act of desiring. Perhaps you truly do not desire it in any way.

Occasionally, I inquire of individuals, “How do you decide to endure?” These individuals give me curious glances, as if I am an enigma.

But I inquire because it reveals a deeper understanding of who you truly are, beyond your wants and daydreams. Because making a choice is inevitable. It is not possible to live a life without pain. Life isn’t always filled with joy and positivity.

And ultimately, that’s the crucial question that holds significance. Finding pleasure is a simple matter. And it seems that most of us have similar responses. The more intriguing question is about pain.

What kind of pain are you willing to endure?

That response will truly guide you on your journey. This question has the power to transform your entire existence. It’s the essence of who I am, and you, of who you are. It’s what shapes and distinguishes us, and ultimately unites us.

Throughout my adolescence and young adulthood, I daydreamed about pursuing a career in music, specifically as a rock star. Whenever I came across a powerful guitar song, I would instinctively shut my eyes and imagine myself on stage, effortlessly playing it while the crowd erupted in wild excitement, completely captivated by my mesmerising performance.

This enchanting experience could captivate me for hours on end. The daydreaming persisted throughout my college years, even after I decided to leave music school and stopped pursuing it seriously.

However, it was always a matter of when I would have the opportunity to perform in front of enthusiastic audiences. I patiently waited for the right moment to fully commit myself and put in the necessary dedication to make things happen. First and foremost, completing my education was of utmost importance. Then, I had to find a way to earn some income. Then, I had to make time. And then… silence.

Despite harbouring dreams of this for a significant portion of my existence, the actuality never materialised. After a considerable amount of time and numerous unpleasant encounters, I eventually realised the true reason behind my lack of desire: it simply wasn’t what I truly wanted.

I was captivated by the outcome – the vision of myself on stage, the crowd cheering, me passionately performing my music – but I didn’t find the same enchantment in the journey. And as a result, I was unsuccessful. Again and again. Wow, I didn’t even put in enough effort to experience failure. I barely made an effort.

The daily routine of practicing, the practicalities of finding a group and rehearsing, the challenge of securing gigs and getting people to attend and care. Dealing with broken strings, a blown tube amp, and the constant struggle of lugging around 40 pounds of gear to and from rehearsals without a car.

It’s an ambitious dream and a challenging journey to reach the summit. And what I eventually realised was that climbing wasn’t really my thing. I simply enjoyed envisioning the summit.

Our culture may make me feel like I’ve somehow let myself down, as if I’ve given up or fallen short. According to self-help teachings, it would be suggested that I lacked sufficient courage, determination, or self-belief. The entrepreneurial/start-up crowd might suggest that I backed away from pursuing my dream and succumbed to societal norms. I might be advised to practise affirmations, join a mastermind group, or engage in manifestation techniques, among other things.

However, the reality is much less captivating: I believed I desired something, only to realise that I actually didn’t. That’s the end of the story.

I desired the reward without the hardship. I was more focused on the outcome rather than the journey. I was deeply enamoured, not with the battle itself, but solely with the triumph.

And life doesn’t operate in such a manner.

Who you are is shaped by the principles you are willing to strive for. Those who embrace the challenges of a gym are the ones who achieve physical fitness. Those who find fulfilment in dedicating themselves to their work and navigating the intricacies of corporate dynamics are the ones who ascend the ladder of success. Those who embrace the challenges and unpredictability of the starving artist life are the ones who truly live it and find success.

This is not a plea for strong determination or perseverance. This is not just another cliché about the importance of hard work and sacrifice.

This is the fundamental essence of life: our challenges shape our achievements. So, my dear friend, carefully select the challenges you face.

Kavya Patel

Kavya Patel spent several years working in the non-profit sector in the international arena, with a particular focus on project fund raising. She has been involved with projects in India, the UK, Africa, and South America. She is the founder Executive Director of the Art India. She spearheads strategic execution of events and festival concepts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *