It’s normal to assume that what hurts you isn’t right for you. It’s natural to think that feeling pain means that you’re doing something wrong. That something is going horribly wrong. That you can be more efficient (and effective) by changing what you’re doing.
That message is all around us. We’ve been taught business mantras like “work smarter not harder” to help us work around the reality that achieving meaningful results demands extraordinary amounts of effort. We’ve be told “don’t hurt yourself” when we try to do something that demands tremendous physical exertion.
At the core of this confused ideology, there lies a basic misunderstanding about the human condition. A condition that directly affects all of our business pursuits. A condition that is directly connected to being happy and being satisfied about we feel with our lives.
The truth is that everybody hurts.
If you don’t understand that you’ll misinterpret just about anything negative that happens to you. You’ll wrongly judge the people that you work with and limit your potential to achieve outrageous results.
Reality is that pain is natural. Suffering is normal. Hurting isn’t bad. It’s what makes you human. It’s what lets you know that you’re alive.
If you aren’t hurting right now you will be sometime soon.
Look around you — the same is true for everybody you see. They all hurt.
They aren’t any different than you. Things bother them like they bother you. They get frustrated and discouraged, depressed, even think about getting out and giving up.
Just like you do.
And just like you they are keeping it to themselves. They aren’t going around telling everybody that they hurt. They’re trying to keep it all inside. They’re hoping that you never notice. They are hoping, like you are, that this time they can be strong long enough to make it through to the other side.
It’s right behind their eyes. You can see it if you’re looking hard enough. Of course that means you’re looking to try to help someone other than yourself. That means that you actually care about how others feel.
And that by itself isn’t easy. Because you’re hurting too. Maybe not as bad, and most likely in different ways then that someone else. But you’re in pain too. And you want what they want. You both just want the pain to go away.
This is true for personal tragedy just as it is for everyday business life. Just because you’re behind a desk with a six-digit-salary doesn’t mean that everything is okay.
Quite the opposite is true.
You’re hurting. And so are they.
That won’t change. That’s just how life is. But you can make a difference with a kind word or a selfless acts of courage.
Helping someone else solve their pain — that’s the secret to success. Business success. Happiness. Making lots of money. Feeling satisfied. They all start in the same place. Helping pain go away.
Helping someone else smile another time. Helping someone else forget about their misery for another few minutes. And who knows — chances are, you’ve saved a life by taking the extra few seconds to be aware that everybody hurts.
And that changes how you pursue your career. How you build relationships. How you live and love and laugh.
Hurting starts to hurt less when you’re helping someone else believe that they can make it through their pain.
And that might be the simplest secret to success yet.