14 August 2017
Go through it
I picked up a strange affliction the other day: crippling foot pain.
I don't know what caused it, or even what it is. All I can tell you was that the heel of my left foot sent the most excruciating jolt of pain up my leg every single time I stood on it. Even worse is the fact that my job consists of ten hours of walking every day.
Luckily, it was the weekend. This meant that I did what any denizen of the 21st century would do: I sat and rested it. I hopped around my flat. I took some painkillers. I even considered going for a foot massage. Anything that would help alleviate, and ultimately, avoid me having to endure any pain or hardship.
Accept it didn't work. Come time for work yesterday I still couldn't put any weight on it and I limped all around London. Soon, I had developed a huge blister in the ball of my foot from having shifted all my weight forward, and my shins were on fire. It got to the point where limping around to avoid the pain in my heel was actually more painful than just walking on the damn thing.
So I started walking on it. The pain was almost unbearable. Step after step of the most agonising pain searing through my leg until... the pain started to die down. What?
After about an hour I was walking without a limp. Sure, there was still a bit of pain (still is today), but it was only a fraction of what it was. I don't have a clue what the medical reasoning behind this is - if there even is one - but my foot got better by going through the pain. Who'd have thought it?
This got me thinking. How many other occasions have there been when I given up too soon, where I wasn't willing to endure a bit of pain and suffering to break through the other side?
We live in the age of the shortcut and the quick fix. The age of instant gratification and avoidance of anything uncomfortable.
Well, it turns out that the shortcut is actually going the long way around. Ryan Holiday was right: the obstacle really is the way. Literally.