The reason to why we are suffering

This post is not related to finance or investments. 

I was reading this interview transcript (warning: it's loooong) by Tim Ferriss (the author of 4-hour work week) on Tony Robbins a couple of days ago and found the below highly enlightening. Worth a read if you are interested.

"The reason you’re suffering is you’re focused on yourself. You’re obsessing on yourself. People tell me, “I’m not suffering that way. I’m worrying about my kids. My kids are not what they need to be.” No, the reason they’re upset is they feel they failed their kids. It’s about them still. In fact, I began to uncover where all suffering comes from. I found the simplest little tools. I dug in. Suffering comes from three thought patterns: loss, less, never.

If you are in a situation where you believe that someone did something – the government, your friend, your co-worker, your kid, whoever, and because they did that you lost love or you lost an opportunity or you lost respect or you lost anything, the illusion of loss is the place we suffer. It is unconsciously, even when it’s not conscious, because we’re obsessing about ourselves. We’re having this illusion that something happened and now life as we expect it to be is not there. Our expectations are what are keeping us from feeling that happiness.

On the other hand, the other one is less. If you did something, I did something, you failed to do something as my friend, I failed to do something for you and as a result either of us starts thinking we have less respect, less love, less joy, less opportunity, less something, you’re going to suffer. You’re going to come up with those emotions that make you crazy. And the worst one is when you start thinking because you did this or I did this or you didn’t do that or I did that or the government or somebody did something, because of that, we will never have something again, then people get crazy inside.

The antidote to that suffering is appreciation."

To put in another word, suffering is all in our mind. Our mind put us into the state we want to be. Earlier on I have talked about "mindfulness" - how we could control our mind instead of letting it run around like a wild beast and do silly things.

The 3 thought patterns to suffering are loss, less, never. The notion of "less" would be making an inferiority of yourself by comparing with others who have "more". The last point which he didn't elaborate much was on 'never'. It's basically negative thoughts like "I will never be able to...", "I will never get...", "I can never...blah blah". 

These negative thoughts are what handicapped us from what we could achieve.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

"I just think a lot of people say to me well, you know, God’s not really in my life. I don’t know there’s a God or an infinite energy or whatever you want to call what you think has created you. I always say to people, can you imagine if you were the creator and you come here to one of your creations and you say to this person, Joe, how do you like what I created for you? And he says, geez, God it’s hot as shit here. Couldn’t you have just kept it as 78 degrees? Why did you have to change all these temperatures and make it so tough? And man, you’ve got these stupid people I’ve got to deal with all the time. They’re always getting in my way and, you know, why do I have to work for a living?

Plus you’ve got these little red ants. They’re tiny little ants and they bite my ass and they hurt like hell. Why would you create these annoying ants? Now, if you’re a God, do you want to hang out with this person? And if you’re a human, do you want to hang out with him? And then if you’re God, you go to someone else and you say how’s it going? The creation I created for you? And the guy says, hey, man, God, this is so incredible. This is the most beautiful place I could ever imagine. The sky, the air, the water. Oh my God there’s so many different people that challenge me and help me to grow and learn and people I can love.

And oh my God you even created these red ants. I mean, these red ants are so tiny. I’m 1,000 times their size and they’re so courageous. They come even bite me. It’s cool what you’ve created here. Who do you want to hang with? So if he goes I don’t have God in my life, it’s probably because you whine and bitch too much to feel God’s presence, right? We have got to stop the suffering. I don’t know many people that don’t suffer regularly. They don’t call it suffering, but that’s what they do. And it’s something you can end. Not like one time. It’s like drawing the line in the sand and saying if I want to take the island, I’m going to burn the boats. I’m not going back.

And then committing yourself to it and not beating yourself up."

I find it a pretty funny excerpt, the way Robbins put it - a personification of God and how frustrated God might be at the 'complainers'. Don't kick me. I am a free-thinker, so I don't pray to any God. 

It is all in our perspective.

So let's ask ourselves...

Why do we see work as suffering?

Why do we think doing household chores or any chore that we have to lift a finger to do as suffering?

Why do we think being not married as suffering?

Why must we always 'win' and otherwise that's suffering?

I guess that's where depression stems from?


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  1. Once we let it go, suffering no more. No?

  2. Very emotional and philosophical post... Its truly a matter of perspectives. Most things are neutral and we deem it good or bad according to the lenses we see the world through. The eye is the window to the world. If it is dark, our world is dark indeed.

    1. Hi 30YearOldInvestor,

      You have got the essence. :)

      Whether we can or cannot, it's also something that we chose to believe in.

  3. Hi Uncle Temperament,

    Thank you for sharing your pearls of wisdom here.

    Yes, I believe that our mental and emotional strengths are most important when it comes to coping with life problems. And resources, I believe, refer to time, money and relationships. These would help us to summon the help needed.

    Resources are what fueled the mental strength. When we feel helpless, it is easy to spiral down.

    "Must be able to accept whatever happens because if not U have no peace.
    No peace in your heart means U can not function normally.
    Can not functions normally, mean U are already a problem."

    ACCEPTANCE. Yes, that's the key word.

    Things that we can't change, we need to accept. Find peace...

    Then find ways to make the best use of whatever resources available.

    "When there's a will, there's a way."


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