When Learning Feels Like a Lose-Lose

This weekend I took a yoga class at the Rubin Museum and was reminded of a simple truth: The better you get at things, the harder they become.

Previously, poses like Warrior just meant a lunge with my hands in the air. Suddenly, it’s all “tailbone like this” and “root your feet like that.” I felt frustrated, how could my getting better at something feel like I was getting worse at it? Why did learning feel like a lose-lose?

Because knowledge is power even when it feels like shit.

And, since how we do one thing is how we do everything, this can be extended into all areas of our life:

We often think that as we work on discovering and improving ourselves, things will get easier. We will be happier. But as we dig deeper and evolve, the assignments get harder. And sometimes it hurts even more.


Growth isn’t linear.

Growth doesn't mean we feel happy all the time.

Our purpose is not to deny pain and live in a constant state of rainbows and unicorns. We aren’t a failure if we feel sad, angry, or depressed. Our goal in self-discovery is to feel the full gamut of human emotion, honoring its range, purpose, and lessons.

Success isn’t defined as spending more time feeling happy. It's the ability to tolerate, learn, and know that things happen for you, not to you. Ultimately, progress doesn't deny pain, it embraces it as necessary for transformation.

Assignment: Rather than deny how you feel and beat yourself up because you “should” be happy, how can you lean into it? What is it trying to teach you?

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