The Daily Stoic for September 22nd, “No Pain, No Gain”.

“Difficulties show a person’s character. So when a challenge confronts you, remember that God is matching you with a younger sparring partner, as would a physical trainer. Why? Becoming an Olympian takes sweat! I think no one has a better challenge than yours, if only you would use it like an athlete would that younger sparring partner.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.24.1–2

While I have always kind of followed it, I never liked that sentence: “No pain, no gain”. Mainly because I never liked the people that used to repeat it over and over again. However, there’s some truth to it, in the sense that you need to work hard for things to happen.

No effort, No Pain, No Gain

Today’s daily stoic uses the metaphor of a sports match. Concretely, a wrestling match in which we are inferior to our opponent, how do we react in those situations?

As micropreneurs, most probably we all have faced this situation before. We are the small fish trying to compete with the big ones.

What if our opponent is stronger (i.e: has more money) or has better skills (i.e: more people and resources)? We take advantage of that. Being the small fish allows you a lot more flexibility. A flexibility that the bigger fish miss. You can find a very specific niche that wouldn’t be profitable for those big companies. You can give a superb, non-scalable support to your customers that big companies can’t offer. Yes, there’s a lot you can do.

I think the most difficult part is discovering how you can use your weaknesses as strengths and use them to your advantage. If you don’t have a skill, find someone to help you, or go in another direction. If you don’t have the resources, be creative, and narrow your niche. There’s always something you can do.

Conclusion

Today’s Daily Stoic, “No Pain, No Gain”, is a sentence I always hated, but it carries an important truth: you need effort, and you need to work hard if you want things to work.

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