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Sunday Backtrack: Three Things I Learned At The RKC Certification

When I wrote Three Things I Learned At The RKC Certification, I was still basking in the afterglow of the achievement and groaning about how sore I was.

I took three major lessons away from that weekend.  Today I’m going to revisit one that becomes more true and relevant in my life with every passing day:

If It Sucks, It Probably Instructs

This has been said by many people in many ways.  “No pain, no gain,” “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” “Can’t know pleasure without pain,” and so on.

All familiar, all cliched (but it’s not the fault of the sentences that they get repeated so often), all true. 

Adversity Creates Amazing People

Many of you have emailed me with your stories about overcoming tremendous adversities.  Some of these challenges are so massive, devastating, and personal that you’ve asked me never to repeat them.  So of course, I won’t.

There is one familiar thread in all of these stories: a vicious stubbornness and defiance.  I’ve yet to receive an email or comment from someone who is resigned to their circumstances.  And I’m talking about people dealing with things that would cripple me and put me flat on my back after one minute.

It is this refusal to submit to unfortunate circumstances that creates real strength.  If a person refuses to be miserable, they remain curious because they are looking for solutions and workarounds.  You will never look for answers with such intensity as when there don’t seem to be any answers.

Unless you just give up, of course.  That does happen, and I don’t believe it is ever our place to judge people who can’t figure out how to go on.  But neither can we allow ourselves to get tempted into inactivity and passive acceptance.

It’s easier to be miserable.  Life is hard and there’s no shame in saying so.  What could be more natural than to quit struggling?  To accept and do your best to survive?


Not you.

Not me.

Natural or not, we do not take the easy way out because it is beneath us.

Anyone can cope

But whatever we’re here for, it’s not to cope!  Coping is existence and nothing more.  It’s pure survival and survival means nothing more than continuing to draw breath.  We’re here to live.  Anyone can cry, take pills, read a self-improvement book, and pretend that they have no choices.  Those can all be good things, but they can’t be the only things.


Not you.

Not me.

Not ever.

When something is hard, when it sucks, when you are dazed by agony and on the verge of throwing in the towel–it’s time to learn something.

It’s time to learn to reject misery, break its back, and stomp it to death while it tries to crawl away.

Wow…what a macho, testosterone-ragey-volcanic image.  That might have gotten a little out of hand there, but…

I still think it works!

Keep smiling, despite all evidence that you should quit.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Leah August 30, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Despite all evidence that I should quilt? I do quilt, as often as I can, at least when I’m not shopping with my friends for more fabric.

    Oh– you said ‘quit’… Then it makes more sense… I get it now– nevermind. (Maybe I’m channeling Rosanne Rosannadanna?)

    And I DO know what RKC is! …now.


    • Josh Hanagarne August 30, 2009, 1:59 pm

      Leah, that would have been an awesome typo. I’m almost surprised I didn’t spell it “quilt” now. Who’s Rosanne Rosannadanna?

  • Daisy August 30, 2009, 6:35 pm

    Who’s Rosanne Rosannadanna? Josh, you are truly deprived. Find yourself some classic Saturday Night Live from the era of Gilda Radner. You won’t be sorry.

  • Beth L. Gainer August 30, 2009, 9:46 pm

    Yes, Rosanne Rosannadanna is a must-see. Radner is HILARIOUS.

    Josh, your posting was excellent, and I agree 100% that adversity helps build a stronger person. As you know, I am a breast cancer survivor, and it took all the guts and fight I had. I view the cancer as a horrible experience I would not have chosen, but I also view it as a blessing. My appreciation of life has deepened, and I live, love, and laugh, never taking for granted the fragility of life.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 30, 2009, 10:24 pm

      Beth, thank you. I wish I was always as gung ho as the posts make it sound. I had a horrible day with Tourette’s today and felt like a hypocrite even typing this post up. I spent too much of the day moaning and gritting my death, wishing the sun down. Oh well. Tomorrow will be better. I do think it’s all true, even if it can’t be practiced every second of every day.

  • Boris Bachmann August 31, 2009, 11:54 am

    I’m reading a book entitled “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle – very zen, very good.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 31, 2009, 12:16 pm

      Boris, I see a lot of Tolle’s books here at work. They’re very popular, but I’m not familiar with them at all. I’ll take a look.

  • Boris Bachmann September 1, 2009, 9:54 am

    I picked it up not realizing it was a “bestseller” and Oprah selection… I’ll continue reading it anyway. Let me know what you think, good or bad.

    • Josh Hanagarne September 1, 2009, 10:37 am

      Boris, will do. It wasn’t always a bestseller and Oprah selection:)