Reflections University / Career

Pain Is Inevitable But Suffering Is A Choice

The idea to write this series came about a month ago when I was at home on one of my free days from uni – if there is a such a thing. I had just finished watching a Hallmark movie (don’t judge me, I needed to numb my brain) when the mountain of work that I had spent two hours avoiding dawned on me.

Two thoughts followed;

  1. I remember thinking to myself I’ve never wanted something as much as I want my grade from LSE – the realistic part of me is like get your 2.1 and go. The overachiever in me tells me to aim for the sky and go for that 1st, but yet there I was, feeling extremely unmotivated. In fact, I was on a streak of zero motivation. Loss of motivation in some instances can be a symptom of depression but everything else was fine, so I knew that wasn’t the cause. But I was struggling. Struggling to reconcile this unfamiliar space that I was in because whenever I feel strongly about something, I normally find the motivation to get it done regardless of how challenging it is.
  2. My writing tends to be retrospective. I rarely write during an experience, only after it so doing this series would be completely different from what I was accustomed to. Strangely enough, on the day I did a countdown calculation and it was a hundred days before exam season and hence the birth of 100 Days of Motivation.

The principle that changed it all

Procrastination is rooted in emotions. The next time you want to procrastinate about something, take a pause and examine why. Whether it’s fear, anxiety or pain there is usually an emotion driving the urge to procrastinate. Mine was pain avoidance. But my realisation was that in wanting to avoid immediate pain , I was only prolonging that state. The work had to be done, there was no way around it, I was simply making a choice to not face the initial pain head on, hence choosing to watch a movie instead of doing my work.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

My principle from that moment was: If you’re going to have to face the pain, might as well do it early.

I met up with my mentor a week later and we were talking and she said something I’ll never forget which sums my principle so well,

Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice.

I’m telling you, it’s like a light bulb switched in my mind on that day. And to be honest, I wouldn’t say I’ve felt more motivated over the past month than I did before that moment, but guess what, I’m getting the work done.

Motivation is great. And it’s wonderful when you feel motivated but it’s not dependable. Success, I’m learning from experience is really about discipline, what you do on days when you’re not feeling motivated.

This is a series chronicling my final year at uni. If you’ve benefitted from this post, please do keep me in your prayers. 


  1. Rah, this post resonates with me so much! I’ve been wanting to write a blog post for a while now but I’ve been procrastinating with a whole lot of excuses and form reading this, I realised my procrastination actually stems from fear/anxiety and now that I’ve acknowledged it, I’m going to face it head-on (because why not ;))

    Liked by 1 person

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