There’s been a thread going around some of my favorite sites about whether physical strength is the most important thing.  I like the answer given here by Jim Tynan — he hits on a number of points I thoroughly agree with.  But I think there’s another key component to the equation.

My buddy Dan came up with that thought out of the blue just yesterday.  It’s one that I’ve had in my head for ages: the importance of routinely causing our own selves pain.  Sure, having physical strength is important for all the reasons Mr. Tynan mentions.  The process of getting physical strength by causing yourself suffering is equally important.

Here’s why:  the ability to react well when things get difficult is often the difference between living and dying when things get seriously bad.  Key to that ability is the concomitant ability to suffer but push on.  How are you going to have that ability when the you-know-what hits the fan if your main focus in day-to-day living is comfort?

Mentally and physically, then, it’s vital that we become accustomed to making ourselves hurt.  Really hurt.  Really regularly.

I’ve always liked this quote, supposedly from an unknown Marine gunny sergeant:

Comfort is an illusion.  A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways.  It narrows the mind.  Weakens the body.  And robs the soul of spirit and determination.  Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here.