We were going on 40 hours since we last had real sleep.
We traveled for 19 hours before making an 11 hour stop in Tokyo. We pressed on throughout the night to get to our final destination in Hong Kong, and by the time we hit the 40 hour mark, we were dragging our suitcases from where the bus dropped us off to our Airbnb, half a mile up a steep hill.
The stairs to our Airbnb were endless.
Once we got to the apartment building, we had 7 flights of stairs before we even reached our Airbnb.
I was determined, though, and I was also in good spirits. Sure, I was exhausted, but if we were to get to a bed and air conditioning anytime soon, I needed to press on. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Here’s a twisted secret about me….
It’s moments like these that I love the most about traveling. It’s when I’m in my element.
“What?!” you might be thinking, “Remind me to never travel with you, Chelsea.”
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In Sebastian Junger’s Tribe, he talks about how we as human beings come from a long history of dealing with hardships, collectively, and how, paradoxically, we are our happiest when we are suffering.
For many people–war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it.
As we dragged our suitcases up the hill, a passerby stared at me helplessly. He started toward me, as if he was about to brace my fall, but he probably realized it was better to just let me be.
When I travel, I deal with unknown situations, in foreign countries, with languages I don’t understand, and around people who don’t always welcome me. It’s in these environments that I am reacquainted with a side of myself that I don’t frequently encounter anymore: the determined part of me, full of grit, willing to do anything to make it happen – whatever it is.
When life becomes predictable and perfectly manageable, I panic.
I bow down to the alter of my daily routine, what my personality test dictates I’m meant to do, and I rarely deviate. I succumb to my moods, and I become mentally weak. Putting on pants some days is hard, and on these days, I really wonder how far I’ve regressed as a human being.
But, it’s this quest for hardship that continues to draw me to entrepreneurship.
Being a gym owner is challenging in ways no other job has been. Nothing is guaranteed. It feels like every day is barely held together with wet single-ply toilet paper, and I never fail to find the success of our gym to be a miracle.
Just like exercise, though, nothing worthwhile comes without effort.
Putting ourselves through the crucible, often, is required for us to have a real shot at success.
When you feel like you’re slogging through the day, working hard to grow your business and barely keeping your head above water, remember that surviving these tough moments and excelling in spite of them will be what separates you from those whose businesses crumble.
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