If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow.

Going through life with the expectation of never getting hurt is wholly unrealistic, and, when practiced, is most certainly destined to failure. Hurt comes from so many directions in life as to make our encountering it a predictable event. It comes in our professional lives as well as our personal lives, and can be delivered through a wide range of characters and circumstances. 

Given the eventuality of getting hurt, it makes great sense to have an appreciation of this aphorism, because it is clearly the fork in the road for what your path will be after getting hurt. Some pain is going to take a lot longer to come to terms with, and others are able to reconcile more quickly. In either case, the experience of getting through the pain and emerging whole on the other side is relatively similar in scope and approach.

At the moment of realization that this pain is real and debilitating, the need to find solace is upon us. We are well served to allow some room to just experience the feeling of the pain, recognize it for what it is, and allow it to start to process. In that pain, we are barely holding on, most certain that our lives will never be the same again. And in most cases, that is actually true. We will not be the same again. That is precisely what is going on. 

So an allowance for the reality shift is required, so as to enable us to adjust to the fact that key circumstances in our world are not going to resolve to our satisfaction. This adjustment period is marked by our understanding that when we are in this pain, we must navigate our way to this crossroad. The quicker that we arrive at the crossroad, the faster we are able to choose a path of least pain, and most growth.

No one wants to grow when they are in pain. They want to just make the suffering stop. No matter what. Sadly, that expectation is unrealistic, and depends entirely on our fortitude and determination. It is those qualities that drive us to accepting that what has happened is an event on our personal timeline and the sooner it becomes a speck in our rearview mirror, the sooner we are able to find lesson in our experience, grow from it and move on.

I don’t know what it’s like to be old, but I think it is being able to look at the things that were once breaking your heart, and laugh. – Merritt Malloy. 

I found that on a greeting card way back when I was going through the break up of my relationship with my first serious girlfriend, 45 years ago. I looked at the greeting card, and hated it. And yet, I can still quote the sentence because I knew it was true, even though it seemed so unrealistic and impractical at the time. 

The reason it stuck is because it showed me the likelihood of there being some day in the future where I could see the circumstance, know it caused me the pain that it did, and recognize that I could arrive at such an emotional destination where the pain had dissipated.  I have felt similarly about moments in business where I have been betrayed or let down and felt devastated at the time.

The only path out of misery is learning the lessons, licking the wounds, and maturing.

I have never found another solution. Everything else has felt just like a distraction to make the pain dispel (temporarily) and then it returns. The lesson is the means to reconcile what has happened and enable us to mature and become stronger so that when the next round of pain arises, we are more armed than ever before. More apt to make a stride to the lesson stage sooner. More willing to mature. And (if we are intelligent about this) less likely to put ourselves in a position of vulnerability as to allow such a pain to happen to us in the future.

If you are going through pain in your life, my heart goes out to you. It is a horrible feeling. But it can and will pass if you take proper steps to ensure that this happens.

Happy Friday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!