People confuse pain with misery.
Here’s a quick story about how a few key painful moments in my life helped me avoid a lifetime of misery.
When I didn’t get into my top psychology program, it was painful. I wanted to go into sex and relationship therapy.
When I didn’t get my top internship placement, it was painful. I wanted to work at one of the leading addiction treatment and integrated primary care facilities in the country.
When I got fired from a cushy job because they stopped supporting remote telehealth positions, it was painful. I wanted to keep working there and getting paid to do easy work.
But had I gotten what I thought I wanted at any of these junctures, I would’ve been miserable.
Each “failure” pushed me in a new direction I would’ve never considered on my own.
Being denied the sex therapy program made me apply to a local school. I met incredible mentors that made me the psychologist I am today, and staying local helped me meet my girlfriend.
Being denied the internship placement forced me to accept another one. And even though my internship year was the closest I’ve come to clinical depression in my adult life, it taught me the dangers of doing unfulfilling work.
Being fired forced me to question my professional trajectory and everything I’d built up to that point.
Today I coach today’s innovators—founders, creators, and entrepreneurs—who are changing the world in remarkable ways.
I write about the intersection of mortality and meaning to help people flourish and make the most of the time they have left.
And I get to hang out with some of the most inspirational people alive today.
All because I got denied my top program, my top internship, and my cushy job.
I’m happier and more fulfilled because of it.
Embracing temporary pain helped me avoid a lifetime of misery.