How To Grow In Times Of Pain

We all go through rough patches. Maybe you were just fired. Maybe you recently experienced a touch breakup or divorce. Maybe a close family member unexpectedly died. Maybe you just broke a bone or were diagnosed with a certain medical condition.

When tragedy strikes, we tend to gravitate towards one of two directions. We can lose touch with reality and let ourselves fall into an ever-descending cycle of depression and self-pity. Or we can look at our circumstances as a fresh start and inject a renewed sense of focus and determination into our lives.

The latter is obviously preferable. It tends to ignite a period of rapid growth, where we leave the past behind and embrace a future that’s distinct from what we’d prepared for. However, getting to this point and avoiding the easier path of why me’s and fuck my life’s is not straightforward, especially when everything you see and do seems to be a reminder of your misery.

sad man; Shutterstock ID 86306068; PO: aol; Job: production; Client: drone

Oftentimes people cope with the chaos by pursuing obsessive behaviours. It could be working 80 hour weeks. It could be playing video games. It could be trying to hook up with as many girls as possible. It could be abusing alcohol or drugs. These are all natural responses. And they usually work– at least better than sitting around and crying. Unfortunately they tend to be quick fixes that lead right back to the pain once you’ve burnt yourself at whichever activity you threw yourself into.

I’ve cried to myself before. I’ve also pursued obsessive behaviours. A different approach is going back to the absolute basics. From my experience, this tends to be the route that gets me – and keeps me – out of the ditches most effectively. It guarantees a grounded emotional state, healthy thoughts, and a physically fit body. And when you create these conditions, a period of personal growth is almost unavoidable.


Below are the habits that I incorporate into my life in times of pain or loss. Whenever I find myself with extra time on my hands that could be used to whine or bitch, I take up one of these activities.

Prerequisites: Sleeping and eating

You must sleep at least 7 hours per night. No excuses. Without a solid sleep schedule you can crumble even during happy and energetic periods of your life. You must also eat basic foods that comfort your stomach and give you sustained energy. Cooking, even basic meals, is also therapeutic. You must ensure that these two cornerstones are well maintained in order to recover and prosper.

1. Workout

You must exercise your body in order to release the tension you’ve built up inside your body and your mind. I love lifting and playing basketball, so that’s what I do, but anything that’s enjoyable and physically challenging works.

jack oliver

2. Meditate

Whenever you’re feeling anxious close your eyes and focus on deep breathing for 5 minutes. It will keep you grounded and prevent you from slipping into negative mental states.

3. Read

I recently saw a quote that said that 30 minutes of reading has never failed to lift one’s spirits. It’s true. And you learn. Just grab an actual book—browsing the internet hardly counts as focused reading.

4. Write

Writing is equally therapeutic. Write about your life and your daily realizations. When you put your thoughts on paper, you’re forced to develop them. I’ve learned a lot about myself from just sitting down and typing for 30 minutes.


5. Brainstorm

Everyday, think of 10 ideas. It could be 10 mobile apps you could develop. It could be 10 articles you could write. It could be 10 vacations you could take. It could be 10 things you’re grateful for. It serves to exercise your mental muscles and explore the endless possibilities that are available to you.

6. Approach

No matter how shitty you feel, go out and approach women. Even if you just say hi to three girls, it will get you outside of your comfort zone, outside of your home, and outside of your head.

For more tips on confidence and success check out my new book Dominate. Click here for reviews and more info.

Read More: Don’t Let Women Rule Your Life

73 thoughts on “How To Grow In Times Of Pain”

  1. Why didn’t you include religion in here? Particularly the Catholic master race? Meditation is no replacement.
    >inb4 fedora storm

    1. I’m a rather logical thinker, so I can’t believe in religion while maintaining my integrity and being honest with myself. I fail to see how a rational (a male virtue) approach is wrong.
      Just because the most vocal atheists are smug, acne-ridden neckbeards, it doesn’t make science and rationality false.

      1. That said I think religion is an excellent tool to keep the dull masses in check and society going.

        1. I used to disagree with that sentiment but seeing how our culture is progressing, I am beginning to change my opinion on that topic.

        2. “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
          ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

      2. “Just because the most vocal atheists are smug, acne-ridden neckbeards, it doesn’t make science and rationality false.”
        There’s nothing “rational” about atheism. We know from science that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning. We know from science that everything cannot come from nothing. Therefore, only a supernatural force could have created the universe.

        1. And where that supernatural force capable of creating universes came from?

        2. A supernatural force doesn’t have to submit to the laws of physics, as the force created the laws itself. It can transcend natural boundaries. Natural explanations, however, always fail. As Aristotle cogently argued, there must be a reality that causes but is itself uncaused (or, a being that moves but is itself unmoved). Why? Because if there is an infinite regression of causes, then by definition the whole process could never begin. 

        3. “Therefore, only a supernatural force could have created the universe.”
          If you can’t identify how that is a severely rationally flawed statement you are hopeless.

        4. “We know from science that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning.”
          I’m not religious, but I’m afraid we don’t “know” this. There are “theories” out there, but we definitely don’t know for a fact how any of this began. We only comprehend beginning and end, how could we possibly know anything beyond this, at least currently?
          It’s still the eternal question.

        5. Well, I cogently argue that being (or force or God or whatever) capable of designing and creating universe had to be created by even more ominous and powerful existence, which analogically had to be created by even more amazing thing and so on. And if you say that this so called law doesn’t apply here, and some force can exist transcendially “just because” then I can say that a natural physical phenomenon like gravitational singularity can exist “just because” as well. It’s infinitly simpler, it doesn’t have an inteligence, it doesn’t have superpowers, it doesn’t save souls of apes, it’s roughly just an anomaly in some sort of the environment which also can exist “just because”. Hello, Occam’s razor.

        6. To clarify, I’m mean we don’t know that the universe necessarily had a beginning because it’s impossible to measure. We can only see but so far out and what we do see, at least toward the furthest reaches possible, isn’t happening in our real time.

        7. “Well, I cogently argue that being (or force or God or whatever) capable of designing and creating universe had to be created by even more ominous and powerful existence, which analogically had to be created by even more amazing thing….”
          How do you refute, then, Aristotle’s logic that claims that an infinite regression could never initiate a process because there is no single initiator? If we keep going back, how does the process begin? It’s illogical to claim that everything had to be created — there must be a beginning point, something that stands apart from the created in order to get the process going — and the only logical explanation is a supernatural force because it defies the very logic of natural processes.

        8. If you can assume that your supernatural forcecan exists “just because” and that supernatural creator doesn’t need to be created then you can assume that gravitational singularity can exists “just because” and doesn’t need to be created as well and It’s much simpler that way.

        9. And what makes more sense? That gravitational singularity could create the clear design that we see in existence today? A fully functioning universe with a life-inhabited earth that has design in every single aspect — a sun that gives energy and light that powers all earth processes; water where there is thirst; trees where there is a need for human oxygen consumption and an outlet for carbon dioxide; a food chain that operates from predator to insect to pollen, bacteria and beyond? And in all this design we see human pleasure, perhaps the most pressing evidence for a creator — that we could find the sunrise and sunset pleasing to our eyes; the fruits, vegetables, and meats with all accompanying spices (garlic and herbs, salt) pleasing to our palates; the pleasure of sex and sleep… And a family unit — compassion and integrity, though it might be compromised by ill-intentioned people — this cycle that continues without interruption or without our consent.
          Which makes more sense? That gravitational singularity would facilitate this or that an intelligent force created it with design in mind? Where there is design, there must be a designer. I appreciate your response and the discourse – I hope that we are able to take a step back from the devised framework of an unmotivated origin that comes with the very liberal notions that we all agree have caused us most of the problems that we personally face today.

        10. It’s not an assumption, it’s a conclusion. The reason that a gravitational singularity needs an explanation is precisely because it is subject to change. It can exist in a state of potentiality and eventually become that thing (which it allegedly did). The cosmos is subject to change, particularly if it has a beginning, but Aristotle argued that the cosmos, though eternally extant, still must have a first cause. It’s all in Aristotle’s doctrine of act/potency.
          The argument essentially goes that everything that changes must be caused by a thing that already is.
          The discrete portions of the cosmos are in a state of change or potential change.
          Thus, their changes or potential changes come from things that exist.
          Every extant thing cannot be in a state of change because there would be an infinite regress.
          Therefore than is an unchanging reality that causes things to change (from potentiality to actuality).
          The name given to this reality by later thinkers is God.

        11. We “know” nothing of the sort about the universe’s alleged origins. If you take a radical interpretation of the Copernican Principle, then the universe always appears to have the same “age” to all observers, which means that it remains static with only the illusion of having a beginning.

        12. We also know from mathematics that 0 (nothing) is equal to -1 +1,call our universe the plus or the minus as long as there is another universe completely matching it in energy,mass yada yada it all adds to but opposite say anti-matter it all adds up to nothing!.This can happen spontaneously in theory.I try not to think about it too much though.

        13. Yes, we do know this. The universe is expanding which means it had to have had a beginning point. An eternal universe would not be in expansion.

        14. Please explain how this statement is logically flawed. If no naturalistic explanation of the universe is possible, only the supernatural remains. That’s pretty much common sense. Since you failed to explain how my statement is logically flawed, I guess that would make you hopeless.

        15. “We know from science that the universe is not eternal but had a beginning. We know from science that everything cannot come from nothing. Therefore, only a supernatural force could have created the universe.”
          Your logical sequence is being derived from deductive reasoning. However, not all the sequences are proven at all so the conclusion you are arriving at could very well be flawed. You aren’t considering more than two options, or more nuanced options. The answer you are seeking is being proposed with limited evidence supporting it. So at the very least it is a non-sequitur and false dilemma.

        16. *Pain*… You’re talking like the universe was created a few thousand years ago. If you played the lottery every day for a year how many times would you win? Not at all. Now lets say you play the lottery every day for BILLIONS OF YEARS, now how many times do you think you’d win?
          That’s the basis of everything, why our planet formed the conditions for life out of the millions of other rocks that haven’t. Evolution, the dinos being murdered by a space rock allowing mammals to take over the world, hell maybe the whole universe itself, all random shit that happened as a result of randomness plus time, otherwise known as luck.

      3. I’m rather intelligent myself, and religion is for the weak minded. Not like us! I’m even brave enough to post my picture. Proud atheists shouldn’t have to hide anymore

      4. Science is great at explaining observations, but never the “why” aspect. Science looks at scrambled eggs and understands the process of getting it there, but assumes it scrambled itself.

    2. Religion is for the weak-minded, for those who are incapable of finding their own meaning and purpose in life. It’s a crutch for those who want to belong to something bigger than themselves, for they are neither original in character nor unique in stature.

      1. *tips fedora*
        Natural law is the basis of religion. To follow natural law is to honour masculinity, femininity, and curb homosexuality and promiscuous women. To keep civilizations in check, and to live in abundance. Call it God, Nature, Order, Divine providence. Whatever. It all means the same thing. Much greater men than you have acknowledged divinity and lived great lives because of it.
        One thing you and your feminist foes agree on is that *we don’t need religion*.
        Yes, you do. God did not intend for us to live with women as our equals, or to celebrate homosexual acts in the streets and encourage our children to do them. Religion is your sword and your shield. The first thing any communist government or feminist movement tries to do to gain a foothold is to derail and remove religion. Think about that, and think about why they do it.

        1. “Much greater men than you have acknowledged divinity and lived great lives because of it.”
          And the greatest of men discard religion for the intellectual babble that it is.
          One thing you and your feminist foes agree on is that logic and the scientific procedure should only be accepted when it follows in accordance with personally held philosophies.

        2. Not refuting anything I said, and throwing out a No True Scotsman fallacy? Now thats what I call edgy!

        3. Simply an elaboration responding to your original argument, an appeal to authority. Religious minds are always so willing to point out logical fallacies in others whilst their own go unnoticed.

        4. What I said was true, not fallacious. Yours was pure fallacy, and you appealed to authority as well.
          Like it or not, the way most people view you is like this:

        5. Entirely inaccurate. I grew up in a conservative Jewish family and still adhere to some of those tenets. Furthermore, I believe religion is a useful control mechanism for the masses whom are incapable of independent thought. However, anyone posing as a red pill man should have enough discretion to know the truth about religion.

        6. Right, your logical fallacies are divine. Furthermore, not that I would expect you to grasp the difference, but my avatar is for agnosticism and not atheism.

      2. Has life tested you? Have you been in war with your life on the brink? How about on your back with your health gone? Maybe a knife in the back from someone you trusted?
        Guarantee you won’t be thinking of pussy, your goals, or your next workout. You will be looking for that crutch when the shtf. No disrespect.

      3. “Religion is for the weak-minded”
        I’m pretty sure that the christian crusader knights of the middle ages weren’t “weak-minded”. Neither were the the Muslim jihads.

      4. Yeah, those Catholic Scholastic theologians were all terribly weak minded. So was St. Tomas Aquinas, a true weak minded simpleton if ever one existed.

    3. Perhaps because men see how whiny christianity really sounds. Seriously, for 2,000 years christians have defined “spirituality” to mean making selfish demands of a god: I want god to have created me specially! Given my life meaning and purpose! Provided me with moral absolutes! Guaranteed me ultimate justice and an afterlife to look forward to!
      Sheesh. Sounds like a religion invented by chicks, not by properly oriented men.

      1. “Sheesh. Sounds like a religion invented by chicks, not by properly oriented men.”
        Only since the 12th century has it become like that. Read up Leon Podles study on the feminization of Christianity “the church impotent”

        1. Do the math, son. If christianity became “feminized,” as you say, about halfway through its history so far, then that has defined what christianity has really taught in its maturity when it started to matter.

  2. This is a very good article. It is said that the two most stressful things a human can endure is the end of a marriage, especially an end they did not want, and the death of a spouse.
    I can’t comment on the death of a spouse, but I can on the end of a marriage. I probably did everything except brainstorm. I always felt better after I did.

  3. Short and to the core. I should maybe start the meditation part. Otherwise I’m doing pretty well I suppose.

  4. I am currently suffering through one of the most painful times of my life. I am 22 years old and I sustained a neurological disorder in March of 2013 that basically disallows me to do any sort of mild physical activity. I am still suffering from this problem and cannot work out, play any sports, have sex or do a lot of daily tasks (carrying heavy stuff, etc). I went from 200 pounds at 10 percent body fat to 180 pounds (basically have lost all my muscle mass) at 6 foot 2. No sex, no physical activity and no fun activities = extreme depression. I have managed to adapt by spending my time reading, writing and approaching girls. I still go on dates with girls and attempt to get some sort of action (blow job, hand job, etc – since I cannot have sex). I tell myself that when this is over, my mental frame and mind will be unstoppable and nothing will be able to phase me.

  5. Look guys, religion and ”spirituality” (i don’t mean new age shit with that) is not the same thing. In all religions you can see a lot of symbolism and hidden meanings. There may be a god, there may not be one. IS it really that important? It contains wisdom, and you would be a foolish little kid not to at least take a look on it. Besides, our ancestors have always praised one god or another, may it be Odin or Zeus, or maybe spirits. There has to be something higher, right? Many religions also have an esoteric core, which is worthy to try to understand. ”Mere religion”, yes, it is for the masses. It does not have to be bad because of it! The esoteric core is not.

  6. I can’t take christianity all that seriously when I think about the real scale of time. In the context of human prehistory and history, christianity arrived on the scene practically yesterday. And I seriously doubt that people alive 10,000 years from now (barring human extinction) will even know about this weird doomsday cult.
    Think of it this way: In the year 12,014 CE (or “AD,” if you prefer), christianity could very well have vanished, while the world’s dominant religion of the time had arisen about 10,000 CE, or roughly 2,000 years earlier.
    Today’s folk christians with their foolish end times beliefs understand on some level the fragility of their religion across time. Ironically they have it partly right with their delusions about the rapture. As I like to tell christians, hey, we atheists can certainly believe in the rapture: We can see that christians have already started to disappear!

    1. You Godless heathen. Western civilization was built upon the labor of humble Christian monks.

        1. All aspect of the observable universe point to a creator, not Darwinian evolution.

        2. Summary : Would creationism by any other name smell as sweet.
          “Berlinski’s books have received mixed reviews; Newton’s Gift and The Advent of the Algorithm were criticized by MathSciNet for containing historical and mathematical inaccuracies”

    2. Did you just argue that Christianity is false based on the possibility of it no longer being adhered to in the future? Like, “I doubt that people will think this in the future, therefore it is not true?”
      It’s like you had a short stack of non-sequiturs for breakfast and then washed it down with a small cup of expressed incredulity. At least argue that the resurrection is false or that the concept of God is incoherent or something.
      Hell, your premise about disappearing Christians is false anyway. There are more Christians now than at any other time in history (Two Billion). If you’re going to troll a religion, always troll responsibly (don’t bring rhetoric if you can’t bring the dialectic).

      1. Out of the 1,000’s of religions out there, why are you so sure Christianity is the sure one?

  7. I’ve been there. I once took refuge in alcohol to escape the chaos. If I had continued down that road, I’d have come to a bad end. It’s hard but you have to know when to let go and begin again.

  8. This is a good list. The activities above are usually the ones that fall by the wayside as soon as the going gets tough. I think that part of what makes life easier during tough times is forcing yourself to focus on activities like what’s above. It all becomes a form of meditation.

  9. Did you just read Choose Yourself by James Altucher? This is exactly what he outlines in his daily practice. This is great advice, but you really should have at least cited him.

  10. Hey guys, need manosphere medical advice.
    I’ve got real, non-psychological problems and I could use some tips.
    For the past few months I’ve been suffering from sinus and salivary gland infections. The symptoms include exhaustion and headaches. Really sucks – if I run for more than 10 minutes I feel like shit and can’t work out again for a long time.
    I’ve taken antibiotics, done neti pot washes, etc, but I’m sure there are things I haven’t tried so if you know something please help!

  11. This is good. Actual actionable information, not theoretical bullshit. Stuff that will make you more of a hardass than anything else.

    1. You’re right. If only the author gave advice like:
      1. Eat right and sleep 7+ hrs.
      2. Exercise
      3. Meditate
      4. Read
      5. Write
      6. Think
      7. Approach
      It would have been good if the author actually gave some reasons why about why these are helpful, too. Then we would really have a good article.

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