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I write verbose posts about polyamory, love, lust, and self-discovery on my other blog Victoria's Imaginarium.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What pain do you want?

If you find my story boring just jump straight to the more valuable article at the bottom. You're welcome.

Today I reluctantly showed up in this 1-credit class conducted in a seminar form (which I found academically useless but have to take) and the instructor had us sit in a circle and talk about what made us choose to become scientists. The first person who shared her stories said that it's family influence and that passion for science occurred to her naturally since they were at very young age. All other people who shared their thoughts afterwards went by similar storyline (geez, why is it that everyone has at least one parent who is a scientist?!) and my attention started to shift from listening to doodling on my notebook while thinking about my own reasons for choosing the science path.

In the end I didn't give my two cents in class— in most cases, I'd rather sit in silence if I find it challenging to give truthful, meaningful, succinct responses. The last thing I wanna do is to go on and on and on and ee oh ee oh like one of my classmates always did... I cringe whenever she raises her hand and starts talking cuz she'll never keep it short and the instructor won't stop her either ಠ_ಠ I know it's her right to express her opinions etc la but isn't it common sense to stop before things get stale and boring.......... (btw, is it just me or ESL students with fairly good command of English generally cringe at poorly spoken English or heavy accents more than native speakers do?) (well, to be fair, I actually cringe at bad any language) (← not trying to be a snob here har, I cringe at myself too wtf) (lololol after I updated the "About Me" on the side bar, I don't care to minimize usage of brackets anymore) (eh where was I??? oh— )

For me, any decision I've made in life was never the product of one single cause, there are usually combinations of several factors, of which I am or might not be aware of. But if you asked me to reason what makes me choose one over others, I don't think I could give a satisfying answer.

I was not any less interested in becoming an artist (any form of art), a public speaker (TV host, news reporter etc), a writer, a social activist, a psychiatrist and or lawyer before I chose the science path. In fact, I am still interested (but err, one step at one time, we'll see), the question is, what made me pursue a degree in science instead of those fields mentioned? In my defense I always said this: because a degree is not a must for anyone to become a famous (yes, I equal success with fame) artist/ public speaker/ writer/ social activist. But you do need a degree if you want to get recognized in the science field!

Hmm, then why not a psychiatrist, or a lawyer?

You see, the prerequisite for the former is a medical degree, and the latter requires high proficiency in English.

Fuck that.

I'm not willing to go through the hassles. Period.


Then I came across this article by Mark Manson. Below is the brief version, you can read the full article here.

The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today
Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a care-free, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.
Everybody wants that -- it's easy to want that. It's so ubiquitous that it doesn't even mean anything.
What's more interesting to me is what pain do you want? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives end up. Because happiness requires struggle. You can only avoid pain for so long before it comes roaring back to life.
At the core of all human behavior, the good feelings we all want are more or less the same. Therefore what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we're willing to sustain.
"Nothing good in life comes easy," we've been told that a hundred times before. The good things in life we accomplish are defined by where we enjoy the suffering, where we enjoy the struggle.

There's a lot of self development advice out there that says, "You've just got to want it enough!" That's only partly true. Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something badly enough. They just aren't being honest with themselves about what they actually want that bad.
If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the six pack, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten.
If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe you don't actually want it at all.
So I ask you, "How are you willing to suffer?"
Because you have to choose something. You can't have a pain-free life. It can't all be roses and unicorns.
Choose how you are willing to suffer. Because that's the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have the same answer. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?
Because that answer will actually get you somewhere. It's the question that can change your life. It's what makes me me and you you. It's what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.
So what's it going to be?

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