Suffering is biologically useful. It's natures preferred agent for inspiring change.
Think about it, if you put your hand on a hot stove, you would take it off as fast as you possibly can, yet people still are slow to act when it comes to doing the things that help them achieve their deepest desires, like looking and feeling good. For many, they don’t take their health seriously until one day they have a painful wake up call, like a heart attack, or they pass that intolerable number on the scale.
Pleasure is not nearly as motivating as pain is because it’s not as biologically useful. Natural selection doesn’t care if you’re happy or sad, it just cares that you’re alive and reproducing—but that’s not a very high standard of living for a brainy species like us.
That’s why so many people quit when trying to achieve something they want. It’s because nature doesn’t care very much about what you want. It cares much more about avoiding suffering and reproduction.
Knowing this, when you’re thinking about your future and what you want to achieve or become, what are you asking yourself? Are you asking yourself, “What do I want?” or are you asking yourself, “What am I willing to struggle for?”.
If it’s the earlier and not the latter, you’re going to end up with an unrealistic expectation for your future. If you focus rather on how much pain you’re willing to endure, you’re going to direct your attention towards a more realistic future. One of suffering in order to achieve your mission.
The reason why it’s so important for passion to be at the root of your business is because your passions are the things that you’re willing to suffer for.
“Passion” comes from the latin root, “pati-“ meaning “suffering” or “enduring”.
When you’re wondering what you kind of impact you want to make on the world, wonder “How much pain am I willing to endure in order to make this happen?”. The more pain you’re willing to endure for it, the more meaningful it is to you.
If you want to start a business, but not willing to endure the appropriate risk, the uncertainty, the insane hours devoted to something that may end up turning into nothing, then you will surely fail.
This is how unrealistic expectations are formed.
People too often pay attention to the dream-state of “What would I want?" and "What would be nice to have?”, but running a business is not a “nice to have”, it’s a struggle.
You must have a strong “Why?” behind it that you’re willing to struggle for.
What is the mission that you are so passionate about that you’re willing to go through the pains of being an entrepreneur? I tell people all the time, “I would never wish being an entrepreneur onto anyone”, it’s one of the biggest struggles anyone will face in their life. It’s a pain that most people can’t tolerate—except for the crazy ones. Except for the people who are determined to make a massive change in this world.
If you’re not dreaming up a massive goal large enough to overcome the pain barrier, you either need bigger goals or you need to condition yourself to associate pleasure instead of pain with the inevitable setbacks you’re going to face in life. Remember, if you're not hitting setbacks, you're not moving fast enough.