The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth – LAW 8 – THE LAW OF PAIN

LAW 8 – THE LAW OF PAIN – Good Management of Bad Experiences Leads to Great Growth

Every problem introduces a person to himself – John McDonnell

Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.

Truths About Bad Experiences:

What separates people who thrive from those who merely survive? It’s how they face their problems.

A. Everyone has them

  1. Bad experiences are not unique to anyone.
  2. If we expect a fair shake, or a fair like, be ready for a big disappointment.

Expecting the world to treat your fairly just because you’re a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to charge you because you’re a vegetarian – Dennis Wholey

B. No one likes them – No one likes when they are in the middle of a bad experience, it’s usually painful. But if they manage the experience well, then they enjoy talking about it afterwards. It becomes a Great War story.

C. Few People Make Bad Experiences Positive Experiences

But we can choose how to respond to every experience – The bad experiences move us. We can choose to move forward or backward.

The Pain File


  • The Pain of Inexperience – “I have never been through that”
  • The Pain of Incompetence – “I should have seen that coming”
  • The Pain of Disappointment – “I wish it had never happened”
  • The Pain of Conflict – “Human encounter doesn’t always feel good”
  • The Pain of Change – “I didn’t want that to happen”
  • The Pain of Bad Health – “I lost what I thought I would always have”
  • The Pain of Hard Decisions – “You can’t make everyone happy”
  • The Pain of Financial Loss – “If I could only get that back”
  • The Pain of Relationship Losses – “Some people will grow in a different direction than I”
  • The Pain of Not Being Number One – “I deserved to be there”
  • The Pain of Traveling – “When I am away, I feel…”
  • The Pain of Responsibility – “They expect so much from me”



How To Turn Your Pain Into Gain

A. Choose a positive life stance

  1. What are your life assumptions and presuppositions about life, people, and experiences?
  2. Do you start with an expectation that you can people are good, or that experiences can be dealt with?
  3. With a positive life stance, good will become better and bad will not be as bad.
  4. While life is not always the way we hope it will be; it is always the way is turns out – how will you view the final result?
  5. A positive life stance WILL find positive lessons in every experience.

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” – Virginia Satir

B. Embrace and Develop Your Creativity

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neal Walsh

When presented with a bad experience, often creativity will show you the way through it.

C. Embrace The Value Of Bad Experiences

“In this life, there are winners and there are learners.” – John Maxwell

We will all face difficulties, but we will not all learn from them.

D. Make Good Changes After Learning From Bad Experiences

  1. This is especially true is the bad experience is the result of our bad judgment – LEARN!
  2. As fire hardens steel into a usable tool, so too can pain shape us into amazing people for the future.
  3. Feelings such as resentment can make a bad experience even worse.

Changing behavior is less a matter of giving people analysis to influence their thoughts than helping them to see a truth to influence their feelings. Both thinking and feelings are essential, and both are found in successful organizations, but the heart of change is in the emotions – John Kotter & Dan Cohen in The Heart of Change.


  1. Take Responsibility For Your Life
  2. Are you a victim or victor?
  3. It is only one short step from “Why me”? to “Woe is me”
  4. It seems very hard, maybe even cruel or callous, but no matter what happens, our attitude toward a negative experience (Positive and hopeful, or negative and defeated) will put us on a CHOSEN path.
  5. Here is a solid truth about being accountable and responsible for one’s life: “Very few are.”


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