“A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn”.
Responding to bad experiences, anger and pain, dealing with mistakes and problems, learning to face our rough time and not ignoring it, being able to release our stress and avoid being stuck with anxiety are all very much needed in our personal growth journey.
Taking actions to deal with our hard times is the eighth law in John C. Maxwell his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. The previous laws are:
- The Law of Intentionality;
- The Law of Awareness;
- The Law of Mirror;
- The Law of Reflection;
- The Law of Consistency;
- The Law of Environment;
- The law of Design.
This post summarizes the Law of Pain.
What We Need to Remember about Bad Experiences
Maxwell started by reminding us of the below facts about bad experiences:
- Everyone has them: everyone will get his/ her fair of bad experiences and pain. We need to recognize that we cannot have ups without downs and we cannot put our efforts to just avoid them. Dennis Wholey, a TV host and author, once said: “expecting the world to treat you fairly just because you’re a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to charge you because you’re a vegetarian”.
- No one likes them: all the negative feelings that we have when we are in the middle of a bad experience are common. In fact, no one likes them.
- Few people make bad experiences positive experiences: similar to anything in this life, bad experiences can have two sides; a positive and a negative one. The fact is not everyone has a positive outlook on his/ her difficult times.
Types of pain
During his life, Maxwell had to face different types of pain, for example:
- The pain of inexperience
- The pain of incompetence
- The pain of disappointment
- The pain of conflict
- The pain of change
- The pain of bad health
- The pain of hard decisions
- The pain of financial loss
- The pain of relationship losses
- The pain of not being number one
- The pain of travelling
- The pain of responsibility
How to Turn Pain into Gain
Maxwell suggested five actions that can help us to use our pain as a source of personal growth as the following:
Action No. 1: Choose a positive life stance
Maxwell defined Life Stane as “a term used to describe people’s overall frame of reference—the set of attitudes, assumptions, and expectations people hold about themselves, other people, and the world in general. It comprises, for instance, people’s attitudes toward money, assumptions about their health, and expectations for their children’s future”.
Managing bad experiences is linked to our life stance. Maintaining a positive life stance; being optimistic, cheerful, trusting and brave helps us to thrive our bad times and turn them into a positive growth.
Action No. 2: Embrace and develop your creativity
We need to find creative solutions to our pain in order to solve them and create lessons.
Action No. 3: Embrace the value of bad experiences
No matter what, we can always learn something out of our bad experiences. “Facing difficulties is inevitable. Learning from them is optional”.
Action No. 4: Make good changes after learning from bad experiences
Creating a positive change right after each pain will help us to grow. For example, Maxwell started a healthy lifestyle after having a heart attack at the age of 41 years old.
Action No. 5: Take responsibility for your life
Always avoid being the victim and take responsibility for yourself and your life.
“John McDonnell once said, “Every problem introduces a person to himself.” What an insight! Each time we encounter a painful experience, we get to know ourselves a little better. Pain can stop us dead in our tracks. Or it can cause us to make decisions we would like to put off, deal with issues we would rather not face, and make changes that make us feel uncomfortable. Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become”.