The Pain of Choice

by Robin Elliott on April 21, 2015


I was staring absentmindedly at my thumbnail this morning. It reminded me of the pain I suffered when I caused the black mark under it, and I started thinking about pain. We all suffer different kinds of pain in our lives.

When I slammed my thumb in the cupboard door, a large black stain emerged at the base of the nail near the quick – it was blood that had accumulated under the nail. And as time passes, the blood moves away to the edge of the nail until it is gone. I thought back to my Dad – how he often had these black marks on his thumbnails, and how I never noticed how they seemed to magically disappear…

Some kinds of pain pass faster than other pain, and some pain, while it diminishes over time, never quite goes away, like the loss of a loved one. You can’t rush certain kinds of pain – they take time to go. It requires patience and faith and maturity. We remember the scripture, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

That’s not the pain I wish to talk about, though. There is the Pain of Choice – the kind of pain which we cause, and can also control, cancel, collocate, and counter. For example, when someone chooses to eat like a pig and becomes morbidly obese, as so many do, he causes the pain of diabetes, bad knees and hips, heart disease, increased insurance premiums, and a lot more forms of pain. He is not a victim; he is a glutton. He can choose, in some cases, when not too much damage is done, to lessen the pain by loosing weight.

When we find ourselves enduring the pain of financial duress, which in some cases we caused through bad choices and in some cases was created through things beyond our control, we similarly sometimes have the option to lessen or remove that pain by taking steps to make money.

In George Orwell’s fascinating and enlightening book, The Road to Wigan Pier, published in 1937, he wrote, “This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.

“A person of bourgeois origin goes through life with some expectation of getting what he wants, within reasonable limits. Hence the fact that in times of stress ‘educated’ people tend to come to the front; they are no more gifted than the others and their ‘education’ is generally quite useless in itself, but they are accustomed to a certain amount of deference and consequently have the cheek necessary to a commander. That they will come to the front seems to be taken for granted, always and everywhere.

“In Lissagaray’s History of the Commune there is an interesting passage describing the shootings that took place after the Commune had been suppressed. The authorities were shooting the ringleaders, and as they did not know who the ringleaders were, they were picking them out on the principle that those of better class would be the ringleaders. An officer walked down a line of prisoners, picking out likely-looking types. One man was shot because he was wearing a watch, another because he ‘had an intelligent face’. I should not like to be shot for having an intelligent face, but I do agree that in almost any revolt the leaders would tend to be people who could pronounce their aitches.”

Some people have neither the programming nor the intelligence to realize that they can change their lives. This is not the case for those reading this article; you DO have the choice. The only thing that stops you from removing or lessening your financial pain is your choice. Of course, you may have to overcome a negative attitude, skepticism, cynicism, or slothfulness, but I have found that when the pain we’re experiences exceeds our expectation of the pain we will endure in order to change our predicament, most will, in fact, take the necessary action. If you want relief badly enough, you will do what it takes. And you will persist as long as you believe in the remedy.

In my life, relief has always come in the form of a person making an offer or an invitation, either in person or through a book or an article or an advertisement. The greatest change in my business life, and consequently in my private life and then rippling out in the lives of of tens thousands of others, started out as an eight page pullout advert in a Success Magazine many years ago in South Africa. Perhaps this article will be the start of a wonderful new adventure for you.

Robin Elliott 20150421_162715[1]

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