By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Ouch. That hurts. Okay, so what's your suffering? Mine are self criticism, health paranoia, and some insomnia/fatigue. These sometimes lead to bouts of depression, or maybe the bouts are isolated. I have no idea. Now let's be clear, these don't define me, or run my life, but are the bumps in my road. Sometimes however, these together can create a lot of stress and worry for me, and it's pretty unbearable.
For years I would battle my suffering flare ups. I would wage war on them by doubling down on "fun" people in my life, parties, more gym or travel, or making more money. These things can help, but not very much. Looking back, I think I was trying to distract myself instead of addressing what wasn't right in my life.
2008-2010 was tough. I was working in an industry I hated. Then I got laid off by Merrill Lynch during the financial crises, slipped a disc in my back, went through a crushing break up, and watched my first startup fail after years of hard work. I could barely walk for months; I was
suffering, and way more than I should have because of the above mentioned culprits. During that time I also became way more introspective. This triggered my deeper exploration of human behavior, which eventually brought me to Jaunty. Those challenging moments are so good at stripping away the things that are less important, and shining a light on what is. I found out much more about who I was when all I could focus on was my healing.
We continuously seek happiness. However, it is these challenging times of our lives that have the biggest and often most positive long-term impacts on us moving forward. Think back to a trying time in your life. I am speaking about deep internal changes. This is different from a serendipitous moment that changed your environment, though those are very important too. The periods I'm talking about are the ones that force you to go deep into your being, and soul. These struggles can create vocations, or callings. Listen to them! Take a step and trust it's the right direction. I know this from personal experience.
Many Greats have identified these periods of suffering as what ultimately lead them to truly come into their own. Abraham Lincoln, failed at businesses, lost many elections early on, and had a total mental breakdown before triumphing. Nelson Mandela suffered in prison for decades, an experience that shaped him in profound ways.
Pay attention to your suffering and use it as the catalyst for real change in your life.