Life is a Series of Gaps Between the Moments of Pain

Think for a moment about every good story you’ve told. I’m willing to bet they all have one thing in common — a challenge. Whether it’s a ring that must be cast into the fires of Mount Doom or a nose-less, power-hungry wizard who must be defeated, there is always a hardship or an obstacle or a trial that makes the victory at the end seem sweeter.

If you beat a video game but used cheat codes, what victory is there in that? If you stood on top of the mountain but had been choppered in, how beautiful is the view? If you’re a millionaire but inherited it all from your family, what accomplishment is there in that?

Inspiring stories that make you cry aren’t told about the rich kid who grew up the son of a tech guru and became the next CEO of his father’s company. They’re told of the kid who taught himself how to code at the library after school, who got beat up for being a nerd, who got rejected from every school he applied to, who worked three jobs to support his family and somehow, through it all, he wrote the next billion-dollar app.

No one likes the guy who has everything handed to them… and I would venture to say even he doesn’t like himself that much either. Because there’s something to be said about overcoming hardship. There’s something to be said for putting in the work to earn the success. It tests you and refines you, burning away everything you said you were except for what you actually are. It reveals the truth of a person and says to the world, "this is who I am. I’ve proved it."

There’s sweetness in the silence after the war. There’s strength and beauty in the moments that follow pain. And there are two types of people in this world: the ones who see the pain and the ones who see the gaps between it. You choose what you see.