Today, I discuss dealing with the pain of regret or discipline.

Table of Contents

  • Direct Pain Or Background Radiation?
  • Individuals are Taught to Disassociate from Virtue
  • Three Ways to Embrace Discipline and Reject Vice
    • 1) Acknowledge that avoidance is not a solution
    • 2) What is on the other side of that pain?
    • 3) The World Wants You Weak: Reject and Mock It
  • Direct Pain Will Free You
  • Actionables

Direct Pain Or Background Radiation?

“Pain unlocks a secret doorway in the mind, one that leads to both peak performance and beautiful silence.” – David Goggins

Direct pain is the pain of discipline. Pursuing what is meaningful, challenging, and virtuous will create pain. For example, when you exercise, your body experiences pain. However, exercising strengthens your body, improves your health, and enhances your mental well-being.

Background radiation is the pain of regret. This pain lingers, floating within your mind as you move from vice to vice. For example, obese individuals fulfill their carnal desires for food. In the moment, they avoid the pains of exercise and dieting. However, they suffer the indirect pain of not feeling good, being unhealthy, and experiencing limited mobility and opportunities.

Individuals are taught to disassociate from virtue

virtue is the guide

Virtue is your guide. All 13 virtues, when followed, correct your behavior and lead you to greatness.

Most people prefer living in a state of comfort where they are numbed to life’s injustices, challenges, and meanings. Why encounter responsibility directly when you can sit and watch TV as your precious life fades into nothingness?

Additionally, we have so many tools to help facilitate this disassociation. We have TV, video games, porn, junk food, social media, and much more. It is easier to reject direct pain, i.e., discipline.

Lastly, our society is against virtue. The elites tell us that fighting for greatness or being healthy is bad. Parenthood, fitness, integrity, and other positive ways of living are mocked, belittled, and tarnished. Why do anything other than be mediocre?

Thus, our culture is one of regret borne from addictions, unrealized dreams, and the stench of failure.

Three Ways to Embrace Discipline and Reject Vice

But we are individualists. We have to embrace what is difficult to achieve what is meaningful. We can live with more power and success if we fulfill our responsibilities.

The following three techniques will help you embrace pain directly so you don’t live a half-life of regrets.

1) Acknowledge that avoidance is not a solution

fight | fight for virtue | improve yourself

There is always something to do. There are always new struggles to overcome. There are always discomforts to dominate.

Your life will always have challenges. You must care for yourself, make good money, or earn freedom. You will never live without something worth pursuing.

Because of this reality, avoiding pain is not a solution. If you become unhealthy, struggle with depression, or are not earning enough money, you can only work to resolve these issues. If you don’t resolve them, the background radiation will poison you.

But if you exercise now or study more or work on your mental health, you will experience pain. But this suffering resolves the issues before you.

Remember, there is no avoiding discomfort. Truly, you will either experience the pain of regret or the pain of discipline. When you can acknowledge this reality, you are in a better place to move forward.

2) What is on the other side of that pain?

“There is no more time to waste. Hours and days evaporate like creeks in the desert. That’s why it’s okay to be cruel to yourself as long as you realize you’re doing it to become better.” – David Goggins

You must think deeply: what is on the other side of the pain you are facing? If you confront your pain right now, what can you expect to get out of it? For example, there is the background radiation of being weak and unhealthy. The direct pain is working out. What happens when you exercise? Your health improves, your mind flourishes, and you become happier and healthier.

Our society is focused on “fun” – hedonistic pursuits for the sake of pleasure. Such purposes do not grant a deeper, more enriched life. And when all you know is comfort and pleasure, you cannot withstand the horrors life inevitably delivers.

Have you enjoyed living like an addict? Being unable to say no to things you didn’t want, would later regret, or felt ashamed for doing? Was it really any “fun”? Was feeling weak and small so much better than being strong? Was lacking self-control so much more exciting than curtailing your vices?

The alternative to a life of regrets is one of discipline and power. Focus on that reality to remember what’s on the other side.

3) The World Wants You Weak: Reject and Mock It

Some days, being petty is the way to go. The world wants you addicted, weak, and pathetic. The ruling classes benefit from your votes. The elites benefit from your dollar. The mob benefits from your participation. Free yourself from their thievery.

When I struggled with porn addiction, I turned my disappointment into anger. I drove my frustration outward. The ruling classes wanted me addicted because I wouldn’t seek freedom from them. The elite wanted me helpless, so I would buy more knick-knacks to cover up my shame. The mob liked having another statistic, another loser, to add to the swelling number of porn addicts.

None of them cared about me or my mental health. None of them advocated for my marriage or my dignity.

The world wants you weak. Why not fight them? Why not truly become a rebel?

Face your demons now and see them cower as you rise.

Direct Pain Will Free You

Individualism is about self-control, the mastery of self. You can only thrive by dominating your pain and overcoming the fear of discomfort.

Embrace pain. Do not shy from difficulties. Become an individual and live a better tomorrow.


“The hero is you.” – David Goggins

  1. What is a responsibility you are avoiding? Why? What makes you want to avoid it?
  2. What is some indirect pain or regret you’ve experienced? What is it about? How can you resolve this pain?
  3. What are goals? Your life, long-term, monthly, and daily goals?
  4. Do you know anyone who suffers from regret? Are they bitter? Do they seem well? What mistakes have they made? How can you avoid those mistakes?
  5. List the daily habits you have. How are they serving your most virtuous self? How are they serving your vices?

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.