Tip: Overcoming a Struggle & Deferring Pleasure Improves All Results and Appreciation

Kung fu drop! Hai-Ya!!! Skier: Daron "Rapid Racin" Rahlves Photographer: Mark Fisher

In January 2007, Outside magazine interviewed a little-known ultrarunner named Dean Karnazes.  Ultrarunning or ultramarathoning, is the practice of running races that are sometimes 4 times longer than a standard 26 mile marathon.  Save the math: yes, Dean Karnazes is one of those guys running 100 mile long races.  Why should we listen to what a guy who spends more time running in a day than most of us spend with our eyes open?  Because of exactly that – the struggle.

Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

– Dean Karnazes, Outdoor Magazine, January 2007.

We live in what has been coined the Age of Anomie.  In other words we live in a time of normlessness, where our free horizon of expectation is maybe just as valuable as that – free.  Our lives have been lost to text messaging, microwave dinners, Internet pornography and Amazon.com.  Once upon a time society would tell us what was sacred, now we have to make things sacred to ourselves in order for them to garner value unto us.

If you want to experience the fullness of life, you have to be content to feel both satiation and hunger; if you’re always stuffed from having gorged on life’s pleasures, you’ll miss out on a whole other dimension of the human experience.

Brett & Kate McKay, The Art of Manliness, March 2011.

It is the delay, the prolonging of the anticipation, that gives us our value when we are willing to impose it upon ourselves.  The sacrifice creates the glory.  Every philosopher from Thoreau to Ayn Rand have emphasized the means and the method over the end and the results.

Money will take you where you want to go, but it will not replace you as the driver.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Be a man, be a king.

At each moment of man’s life he is either a King or a slave. As he surrenders to a wrong appetite, to any human weakness; as he falls prostrate in hopeless subjection to any condition, to any environment, to any failure, he is a slave. As he day by day crushes out human weakness, masters opposing elements within him, and day by day re-creates a new self from the sin and folly of his past,—then he is a King. He is a King ruling with wisdom over himself. Alexander conquered the whole world except,— Alexander. Emperor of the earth, he was the servile slave of his own passions.

Brett & Kate McKay, Manvotional: The Kingship of Self Control, January 3, 2010.

Photo Courtesy of Teton Gravity Research: Kung fu drop! Hai-Ya!!! Skier: Daron “Rapid Racin” Rahlves Photographer: Mark Fisher