You Never Make Real Progress Without Pain

You Never Make Real Progress Without Pain


DEC. 31, 2013, 12:38 PM 2,649 2

Without discomfort we never progress. Without stress we never adapt. Without pain we never rebuild. That’s why sometimes the best blessings truly are blessings in disguise. Like:


People criticize only when they care… and while people still care about you or your business you have the opportunity to do something better, to do something differently, to change their minds — or to just meet in the middle. Criticism is no fun… but having no one who cares at all is much, much worse. It’s great that people care enough to want you to do better — so go do better.Sadness

When you’re sad that means you care, and caring is the mother of changing things for the better. Sadness is no fun… but apathy is much, much worse. Be grateful you care enough to be upset — and then work to ensure you won’t have to feel sad next time.


Failure is rarely the end of the world. Failure is just the end of an idea or a possibility or a dream. When we fail, we can move on to something else, a little wiser and a lot more likely to succeed. Failure sucks, but never being able to take a chance on your skills, your experience, and your vision is much, much worse. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to fail on terms you at least partly set. (Many people are not so blessed.) Pick yourself up and get out there and try again.


Think of people you envy. They have what you want. They do what you want to do. Now flip it around. Think of them as people to admire. Think of them as people who have earned your esteem. Then think of what you need to do to get what you want, and to do what you want to do. Be thankful you have people to envy; they give you a target to shoot for. But if they’ve also earned your respect, don’t be privately thankful. Tell them how you feel. That will make them thankful for people like you.


You might have so many options and potential choices, both business and personal, that you feel stressed and even overwhelmed. Flip it around: Imagine how it would feel to have few, if any, options. Imagine how it would feel to have few, if any, viable choices. Be grateful you have options — the more choices you have the better your life can be.


Not unintentional struggle, though, but intentional struggle: like choosing to work incredibly hard or to push through a mental or physical barrier or to make sacrifices for the good of the people who rely on you. When you struggle and fight and endure, you not only stretch the limits of what you believe you are capable of, but you also sometimes enter a state of grace that you find only when you strip away what is truly nonessential (which turns out to be most of what you worry about). Struggling helps you learn who you really are — and who you really want to be.


Staying patient is rarely fun, but having to wait can be a good thing. For example, research shows that where vacations are concerned, the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning to get away. And this vacation anticipation boosts happiness for an average of eight weeks. After the vacation, though, happiness levels quickly drop to baseline levels — usually within days. Soon the people who went on a vacation were no happier than the people who had not. Be thankful you need to wait — especially for something you really want. The anticipation alone is worth it. Besides, the ability to wait for what you want… not what you need, but what you want… is a luxury possessed only by those who are already have a lot.


Hearing, “No,” is never fun. Never. Yet when you hear the word “no,” that means you found a way to open doors and reach an audience. Many people never get through those doors.

See rejection as a challenge: a reason to think differently, act differently, take a different approach or perspective… to learn to negotiate, to compromise, to identify key drivers and overcome objections in order to reach agreement… see “no” as the motivational gift that can keep on giving.

If you let it, that is.


Think about something you wish you had done better. Or handled differently. Think about something you wish you had done but for whatever reason, you didn’t.

Painful? Sure. And motivating.

Harness that motivtion today. Call a friend you’ve lost touch with. Mend fences with a family member. Be the bigger person and say you’re sorry. Do something you wish you had done.You’ll be incredibly glad you did.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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