It’s all in our heads (WP Prompt)

K.C.  Kildress opinion writing

Today’s writing prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress:

Pains and Gains

Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?

I have two things I need to get off my chest before I can even get to the place where I can respond the second question.

To begin with, let’s set the record straight. The catchphrase “no pain no gain” was adapted from a saying that Jane Fonda’s marketing team ripped off from the first century Jewish convert and teacher known as Ben Hei Hei.  Ben Hei Hei is quoted as saying  “According to the pain is the gain.” Other sources translate it as: “According to the difficulty is the reward.” or “Effort is its own reward.” The original Aramaic as been translated as:

LE’FUM = in accordance with
TSAR’RA = sorrow, pain, effort
AG’RA = [is] reward

It is thought that with this dictum, Ben Hei Hei is teaching that the rewards gained by the study of the Torah is proportionate to the effort expended.

Now, here are my thoughts regarding the “no pain no gain” philosophy in athletics, physical training and exercise.  Let me be clear, these thoughts are not unique to me alone.  “No pain, no gain” is a fallacy when the pain is physical and is the result of physical activity.  Pain is the body’s way of saying “There’s something wrong here!”  Exercise or training can be physically difficult and often unpleasant- surely very difficult and very unpleasant when one seeks to achieve a high level of performance- but it shouldn’t result in physical pain.  To achieve the gains that come from exercise and training requires a person to step out of their comfort zone.  Only with the proper mindset can a person overcome difficulty and unpleasantness.  Sometimes cultivating that mindset comes with a significant amount mental stress.  Change and challenges are not easy.  The person who excels must have the mindset which allows them to prevail over things that are difficult, unpleasant and that cause mental doubts.  It can be painful to achieve difficult goals; but the pain is in the mind and shouldn’t be on the body.

Now to the question “Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?

I can’t answer that question because there are too many variables and points of view.  How does one define greatness?  Is it relative to one’s experience or is it a societal?  If it’s a definition created by the greater society, then whose society?  The same could be said about hardship.  What I can say; however, is that I believe that personal growth cannot occur without challenges.  The ultimate challenge occurs in our own minds; this is where we confront any hardship we might experience.  And sometimes meeting the ultimate challenge is painful.

Dear Fellow Writers,

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Happy Writing!



Author: K.C. Kildress

I enjoy poetry, writing, gardening and cloud watching. I share my world with two happy dogs and one sassy cat.