In our previous Heretic dispatch, we talked about Nintendo’s former CEO Satoru Iwata’s definition of genius — which I quite like. My dear friend and fellow Heretic Mark Moore, founder and CEO of MANA Nutrition (I wrote about Mark in the past), responded with the following quote (his quote, not him quoting someone):
“As far as I can tell, our entire culture is organized around one thing: the avoidance of suffering and hard times. And once you’ve avoided suffering for a while, you graduate to the avoidance of even the slightest inconvenience.”
I believe Mark is right. And instead of debating the deeper consequences of this for society at large, let me dig into the positive and beauty of Mark’s point. It reminds me of my time running ultra marathon distances, where we threw around phrases like “pain is the purifier” when the going got though, or called our trips “sufferfest”. Now — make no mistake, I’d rather not suffer, and I certainly did not seek it out. But looking back at my time as a runner, the toughest times, were also always the most rewarding and my most cherished memories. Those were also the times which defined me as an athlete.
Which makes me think that we shan’t seek out suffering in itself (that sounds foolish to me) but also not shy away when we encounter it. Instead of seeing it as something to be avoided, accepting that it is part of the journey. It is, after all, the way we grow.
P.S. Just so we are clear: Mark (and I) are talking about people who have a choice. There are countless who don’t — and for those, we (those with the luxury of choice) need to care.