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The Purpose of Pain

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Pain can help you find your purpose. Most people spend their lives focused on their own pain. That’s why most people die long before they are buried: they are focused solely on their own pain.

Nelson Mandela, the leader of both peaceful and armed protests against the white minority regime and global advocate for human rights, was imprisoned for 27 years. He embraced his sentence while still refusing to accept the painful reality of oppression in his country.

Was he doing it for himself alone? Of course not. It had started as a steel-strong conviction, but he stood up and fought for the pain of his entire nation.

I believe that once one becomes obsessed with relieving others’ pain, they are very close to finding their purpose.

Your purpose is hidden in someone else’s pain.

When the pain of others makes your eyeballs sweat, you have found your purpose; you have found the reason you are still here.

Knowing Pain

The dictionary defines pain as physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury; or as an emotional distress.

Pain is a fundamental feeling that people try to avoid; a source of unhappiness.

Fear of pain stops most people from following their dreams and achieving success in life. Due to avoiding discomfort, some people KNOW but don’t GO. For example, they know they should work out on a regular basis, but they also know it will be less painful to relax on the couch and watch TV. Further on, because they don’t GO, they won’t GROW, either; and, as I already mentioned, anything not growing is dying.

Life may not always be what we wish for, but it is what it is. We all have plans and desires for how we’d prefer our lives to turn out. However, reality might differ. For example, despite all your dedication, effort and hard work to build a successful career, you might realize you’re progressing a lot slower than expected.

Related: 35 Ways of Thinking That Every Young Entrepreneur Needs to Adopt

There’s no such thing as a life without struggle or pain. Even with all positivity and optimism, we will still face pain, at some point. The best we can do is to accept it. Take a hint from nature – to grow, plants need both sunshine and rain. Neither of them is good or bad; they’re both parts of the balance and ecosystem that makes our planet work.

Life is the same. We go on amazing adventures and have incredible accomplishments, but we also experience tough times and difficult days. People we love will die, things won’t work out according to plans, and our hopes will dash. It’s all part of the game.

One way or another, pain finds us. We don’t have to look for it, nor do we need to avoid it. Even if we try to escape it, reality has a way of catching up. Therefore, we only need to keep going and take injuries and pain along with the joy of winning and success. We need to embrace torment and allow it to direct us to where we want to be.

Pain has the ability to move us to a place of achievement and greatness. In fact, each painful experience hides a gift and a lesson. We usually don’t learn a lot from our wins. Pain, however, is a wiser teacher.

Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Defeats, obstacles, challenges, etc., arise so we can learn how to manage them. The secret is to keep doing those things we know in our heart of hearts that need to be done.

Going Pain

Letting go and leaving a comfort zone always comes with some sacrifice and suffering. For instance, as you leap from employee to entrepreneur, you will feel the stress and uncertainty of becoming your own boss. Still, in the long run, the pain of remaining in the same place is usually greater. Leaving my family and friends in the community was a painful experience that lasted for years as they had cut-off contact with me the moment I left.

Growing Pains

Due to their fear of pain, the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs choose to stay small.

Most solopreneurs don’t hire because of the fear that their employees will let them down, or steal from them. They’re afraid that customers will make late payments and puzzled by how to make payroll.

Typically, this fear is caused by lack of knowledge. It’s the case of people who GO before they KNOW. Some solopreneurs get so caught up in their daily activities that they don’t take the time to learn on a daily basis. In other words, they don’t prepare to grow their companies, because it’s less scary to maintain than to expand.

An entrepreneur is less concerned with feeding himself than he is with creating opportunities and transforming his community. Whoever said “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for life” was not an entrepreneur. I believe that the only way to solve poverty and make this world a better place is to help young entrepreneurs start their own “fishing businesses”. Not just teaching, but empowering youth to be their own leaders, rather than looking for a job.

The Pain of Others

Have you ever wondered how entrepreneurs determine what customers will buy even before the services or products actually exist? To answer that question, address another question first:

Why does anybody buy anything?

People typically spend money for two main purposes:

To eliminate or prevent pain

To pursue pleasure.

I listed pain and pleasure in that order for a reason. The more serious the pain or problem, the more likely for an entrepreneur to offer a compelling and precise solution. Pleasure comes with a broader sense and interpretation from each of us, so, it’s more difficult to reach satisfaction.

In other words, it’s often better to be in a “pain relieving business” than a “pleasure inducing business”. Most entrepreneurs use “customer pain” as a synonym for “customer needs” or “customer problems”.

Customer pain is the ultimate renewable resource.

However, an important detail to consider when assessing pains is that your customer and the end user might not be the same person.

If you sell dog food, for instance, the user is the dog but the customer is the dog owner. If you sell baby food, the client is the parent but the consumer is the baby. I help young entrepreneurs in developing countries start their own business but my client is usually the government and not the young person.

Related: Use the Power of One to Make a Difference

Three Steps to Zooming in on the Pain

Step 1: Identify the general pain

Every new entrepreneur starting out, needs to think of things that people find disturbing, frustrating, urgent or uncomfortable. Ask them directly and pay attention. Do your research on Reddit, Twitter, Quora or any other platform, by simply “listening” to people’s complaints. Speaking of criticism, Amazon or any other store’s bad reviews help in becoming aware of people’s pains.

Then, within this framework, switch gears and start developing cures and prescriptions for healing.

Step 2: Answer the following questions

Can you quickly describe the pain your company solves?

Why should anyone care?

Can you persuade a prospective customer to purchase your product using your simple explanation?

This works in reverse as well. Think of some of the most successful companies. For the truly great ones, you can probably describe what they do and what customer pain they relieve.

Step 3: Notice the patterns

To make sure you come up with a niche tailored solution, you’ll want to know the frequency and intensity of that pain. The clearer and more specific you are, the more your business will bring a real added value to customers.

Business to Consumer

Once you’ve spotted the pain, figure out when people feel it most acutely. It’s easier to sell a solution to a current, intense pain than one potentially happening in the future. If you’ve ever had to call a serviceman or a doctor in an emergency, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It’s easier to sell painkillers than vitamins.

Business to Business

Businesses are no different. They generally strive for two goals: to increase sales and to cut costs.

Therefore, if you can demonstrate new ways business customers can find new markets, create new products, or even raise prices on existing products, you can solve their pain by helping to increase revenue.

“Your purpose is always in hidden in someone else’s pain” – Ben Kubassek

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