Does Suffering Make Us Stronger?


Thomas Serrano, Staff Writer

Have you ever convinced yourself to do something you didn’t want to do because you knew it would be beneficial to you? Everybody has been in situations where they didn’t want to do something but understood that doing it, as dreadful as it would be, would only serve to benefit them. Whether it’s getting yourself into the gym or starting an assignment that you’ve been procrastinating about, everybody has struggles that they must face. Sometimes these struggles seem insurmountable and hopeless to conquer, but these feelings are what make trying that much more rewarding. Suffering for the sake of achieving a goal is what makes us stronger because without suffering, nothing could be achieved. 

In order to achieve a personal goal, some sort of effort must be put forth in order to make it a reality. The more extreme the goal, the more extreme the effort required. This is why professional athletes can play at such a high level or why multimillionaire entrepreneurs can turn a small idea into a household name. These people at the top have struggled their way there. If Muhammad Ali had given up on boxing because he got punched too much, he never would’ve become the greatest boxer of all time. If Elon Musk had given up because he thought he couldn’t make electric cars, he never would’ve been worth hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to reach the pinnacle of their respective industries, these two must’ve endured more suffering than any of their competition. 

The idea that suffering brings strength can be proven according to a study done by psychologist Judith Neal. Neal, when studying a group of people who suffered serious life-events, found that after people went through these life-changing events, many of them began to view life through a different lens. These people began to appreciate life again, even after the incidents that befell them. The suffering that they experience transformed them and made them stronger. Another study done by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun proved similar results. They interviewed people who had suffered serious life-events and found that in most cases the subjects displayed new strength and confidence. They also displayed compassion and appreciation for things. These two studies found on, show the benefits to suffering with real people’s experiences as proof. 

Of course, this all must be within reason. Suffering can be the greatest motivator; however, it can also be the most powerful impediment. Facing a painful setback can lead to demotivation or depression. Instead of learning from these experiences and seeking to grow from them, some people will be held down by them. It’s not easy to suffer and continue pushing forward, but that’s why it’s so important to try. Each step taken is a victory in itself. As long as some sort of progress is made, no matter how small, goals can be achieved