Sometimes you start reading a book and have no clue what's going on, but as you keep reading it all starts to make sense. Life is like this, at least for me it is.
If you're brave enough to live and love there will be times where you win and also times of loss. This is perfectly fine because the purpose of life is not to win. There are many people who have many ideas on what the purpose of life is, I'm not sure who is correct but I'm pretty sure that winning isn't the ultimate goal. As I age I feel more satisfied with myself and my actions when I think of all the times I've helped and brought pleasure to other people's lives than when I outdid them.
What does pain have to do with happiness?
One of my favorite books is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner, a rabbi who lost his son at a young age due to a rare disease. In this book he says:
Pain is the price we pay for being alive. Dead cells—our hair, our fingernails—can’t feel pain; they cannot feel anything. When we understand that, our question will change from, “Why do we have to feel pain?” to “What do we do with our pain so that it becomes meaningful and not just pointless empty suffering?
I fully agree with the above. I don't know why we feel pain, some say we need to feel pain to grow (I disagree) or we feel pain because we deserve to (I'm not sure if I agree or disagree). Regardless of what the reason for experiencing pain (I think its an experience not simply a feeling), the period in which you experience pain is a great opportunity to turn it into something meaningful. This can't be achieved if you deny pain, doing this will result in pointless suffering.
Finding purpose in pain
There are probably loads of ways to find purpose in pain, I'm not going to go into detail but instead I'll tell you about of some of my pain and how I found purpose. Years ago I was much younger and on a mission to be the best I can be in my career and personal life but no matter how much I tried, very few things went right (I will make sure my future kids never experience this) and at times I would go without eating for days. I don't know how I managed to do it, during the day I was running an entire network for a law firm and also working as a programmer. Two jobs, no food and only my computer in my lounge, along with a set of old CITI Golf seats as my furniture. I've come a long way but that was a really shit time and I'm glad I didn't give up. After that when I relocated to Johannesburg I was homeless twice. As much as these experiences broke me, I'm able to speak about it openly because I learnt lots during this time. Among many other things, I learnt not to judge people, to always be kind and to be a more empathetic person. Most importantly I discovered what I think is my purpose in life. I think my purpose is to end homelessness and feed people. I also think that your purpose in your personal life and business/career will be different. Now that I've found my purpose I've included it in my 50 year plan (a whole different story) and will be able to actively work on it in about 12 years, until then I'm focused on doing my best in my job and working with our amazing teams to end money laundering. Also, I should mention that it took me a really long time to know what my purpose in life and my career is (literally almost 29 years, so much for being intuitive and having the pisces sixth sense). When I figured out both it happened very quickly and I almost didn't realise it. It's amazing how you sometimes can search for something for years and as soon as you stop searching everything becomes crystal clear and opportunities present themselves. What's your purpose? Not sure yet, don't stress about it. Lean into the pain and always use your pain to produce something positive. Don't worry if nothing makes sense immediately, eventually it will.