Why Men Need To Seek Pain – TSMP #59

Matt and Jay discuss Why Men Need To Seek Pain, the value of suffering, how to overcome adversity, why embracing the suck leads to high achievement, the difference between men and women in pain, and much more!

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Why Men Need To Seek Pain

Life IS Pain

  • All religions/philosophies teach this:
    • Buddhism: The first of the four noble truths taught by Buddha “All existence is suffering/pain/anguish” 
    • Christianity: Christ tells his followers “Take up your cross and follow me”
    • Islam: In the 2nd surah of the Quran, God tells humanity He will “certainly test [them] with fear and hunger, and loss of property, lives, and crops.” 
    • Judaism: In Genesis 3, God tells mankind “cursed is the ground because of you…Both thorns and thistles it will yield for you…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread, until you return to the ground.”
    • Hinduism: The ultimate goal of life is to achieve Moksha – the release from the suffering and pain of existence on the earth
    • Communism (Marxism): Religion is the opiate (pain-reliever) of the masses
    • Atheism: “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation…. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.” (physicist Richard Dawkins)
    • Stoicism: “Pain is never unbearable or unending, so you can remember these limits and not add to them in your imagination”  —  Epicurus
    • The Princess Bride: “Life IS pain highness – anyone who says differently is selling something”

What IS Pain?

  • Jay’s recent long run
  • Matt’s broken jaw 
  • Pain is a signal from somewhere in your body that something is happening that needs to be addressed
  • Shoulder, neck, stomach, heart, brain, worry, stress, fear, discomfort

If Pain Is a Constant In Life, What Do We Do With It?

  • Modern perspectives on pain for most people
    • Run from it
    • Use painkillers, drugs, alcohol to deaden your nerves
    • Pretend like it’s not happening
    • Cover it up with pleasure

BUT modern philosophy does not teach that to SEEK PAIN IS A GOOD THING!!! This is why so few men are truly successful in 2021!

Examples of Men Who Sought Pain

  • Roger Bannister (First man to run 4 minute mile)
    • “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
  • Sir Edmund Hillary (with Tenzing Norgay, first men to climb Everest)
    • “The feeling of fear, as long as you can take advantage of it and not be rendered useless by it, can make you extend yourself beyond what you would regard as your capacity. If you’re afraid, the blood seems to flow freely through the veins, and you really do feel a sense of stimulation.”
  • Ross Edgely (First man to swim 1,780 consecutive miles around Great Britain)
    • “You find the most honest version of yourself in complete exhaustion”
    • “For the record, I don’t like pain, but it is a means to an end. I have learned that if what I am doing produces pain, I will reap the benefits later on. Not to get too deep, but I agree with Aristotle, who said that the goal in life should not be happiness, it should be “eudaimonia”. In other words, happiness achieved through fulfilment.”
  • David Goggins (Pull-up world record holder, Only man to be Navy SEAL + Army Ranger + Air Force Tactical Controller, “Fittest man in America” (Outside magazine))
    • “Pain unlocks a secret doorway in the mind, one that leads to both peak performance and beautiful silence.”
    • “Never let people who choose the path of least resistance steer you away from your chosen path of most resistance.”
  • Elon Musk (Founder Tesla, SpaceX)
    • “Starting a business, I’d say, number one is have a high pain threshold…
    • Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss….Because, when you first start a company, there’s lots of optimism. And things are great. Happiness at first is high. And then you encounter all sorts of issues–and happiness will steadily decline. Then, you’ll go through a whole world of hurt. And, eventually, if you succeed–and in most cases you will not succeed … and Tesla almost didn’t succeed. It came very close to failure. If you succeed, then after a long time, you will finally get back to happiness.”

Why Men Should Seek Pain

  • Masculinity vs Femininity in regards to pain
  • Feeling of release after super challenging workout
  • After choosing highly difficult things, makes “normal life problems” seem like nothing
  • Stress relief
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Sexy to women (although also illogical to women “Why does he do stupid stuff like jump out of airplanes/punch other men in the face/run marathons/lift large amounts of weigh/hunt wild boar? And why do I want to get naked right now?”)
  • Facilitate success in other areas of your life

How Much Pain Is Too Much Pain?

  • Pain is a valuable indicator
  • Are you damaged? Yes? Okay stop – or at least slow down
  • Are you just uncomfortable? Okay assess, and maybe keep going, maybe stop
  • Masochism is healthy…up to a point


  • Life IS Pain
  • The modern perspective on pain
  • Why Men should seek pain
    • Feeling of release after super challenging workout
    • After choosing highly difficult things, makes “normal life problems” seem like nothing
    • Stress relief
    • Feeling of accomplishment
    • Sexy (but illogical) to women 
    • Facilitate success in other areas of your life

“There are two things [that I have to root out]…the recollecting of trouble in the past as well as the fear of the troubles to come… the first is no longer of any concern to me and the second has yet to be….Let us [then] overcome all things, with our reward consisting not in any wreath or garland, not in trumpet calls or silence for the ceremonial proclamation of our name, but in moral worth, in strength of spirit, in a peace that is won forever [even though fortune herself has utterly defeated us.]” 

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Seek pain and Stay Superior!

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