I found this sitting as a draft. Thought to dust it off… Today’s (Aug. 30, 2014) Daily Prompt: Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?

I remember Jane Fonda and the many hours I spent doing her exercise videos. Loved them! Those videos were good, and she was (and continues to be) right.

There are two different, but related, thoughts here.

1) Jane was right to say “no pain, no gain” because progress is achieved through perseverance, and persevering can be hard. No Olympian just arrives at the Olympics and steps onto the podium. Every concert musician spends hours practicing even if he/she is a child prodigy. Doctors become great with lots of practice and study. An Ironman triathlete must train to cover 140.6 miles. To progress, you or I or anyone else in the world cannot rest on our best from yesterday. The list goes on.

2) The second question, however, is about “hardship.” The definition of “hardship” (per Miriam-Webster) is “privation, suffering,” and privation is “the lack of something basic that people need to live properly.”

This makes me think of the saying that “invention is often the mother of necessity.” If the “necessity” is not a result of some sort of hardship, then why invent? If there isn’t a need, then why derive a solution for it? So, here again, “no pain, no gain” applies, too. I can think of many examples of gain that resulted out of necessity or suffering for which it’d be a shame had we not persevered. What if Edison hadn’t pursued his ideas of the light bulb? What if Abraham Lincoln decided he really didn’t want to ruffle any feathers? What if the decision was made that terrorism wasn’t worth the fight or the dollars?

For me personally, things that come easy just aren’t that memorable. Whether it is a challenge at work or a personal trial, I’ve learned that when I end up in a situation with a little bit of pain, gain is right around the corner.

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