Success is Directly Proportional to Our Ability to Endure Pain

Michelle Okafor
3 min readOct 15, 2017


Photo by Gus LDN on Unsplash

No one is immune, even though it may look like that from the outside.

We are all struggling with the same issues. Things that are holding us back from achieving our goals. From advancement, from success. Some of us give up too easily, like me when it became tough running my business. I received a message from an old customer this week saying she bought a dress and a skirt from me a while back and wanted to know where my shop was. There is no shop anymore. I asked myself, what if I had persisted, put my head down and grinded through the tough times. Thankfully, it was not in vain. I learned some valuable lessons.

We are all at different stages of our journey. Sometimes you’re at that stage where nothing makes sense. Where all your efforts don’t even move the needle. You ask yourself, why am I doing this? In those moments, know that someone has walked the road before. There is no such thing as overnight success. It takes years. For a long time, it seems like nothing is happening. The difference between success and failure is getting up day after day, doing the same thing that seemingly is not yielding any results. The breakthrough will come. Some of us give up just inches before we can touch it. No one will say it’s easy or downplay the amount of effort it takes to keep going. Whether it’s with your business, in your studies, or in your relationship or marriage.

The trick is to feel the pain, stay where it feels uncomfortable long enough to see the smallest of change. Your success won’t come out guns blazing. It will be small, minute, visible to only you. A private victory always precedes a public victory. That will give you the courage to move forward. Now when you’ve experienced minimal success, you will be tempted to tell the whole world. Don’t. Keep it to yourself, because not everyone will be happy for you. This may seem difficult to digest, but unfortunately, some people want you to stay where they are, and they want you there with them. Misery loves company.

At the same time, you may realise that you are hanging with the wrong crowd. The party type, who are still living at home and watching Netflix every day. Because you have a desire to achieve more, it makes certain people uncomfortable. You just keep your goal in sight, put your head down and put in the hours. Yes, it won’t be fun writing, reading, studying on a Friday night when everyone is headed to the bar. It won’t be fun to getting up early on Sunday morning to get to the gym. But you know what, if you do this consistently, you will see results. Results don’t lie. They don’t need convincing.

You don’t need to have it all figured out. Some of us in our 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s don’t have it all figured out. When you are 25 it’s normal to not have it all figured out. Don’t rush into a job, marriage, a business because everyone else is doing it. The time may not be right for you. When will it ever be the right time? No-one knows. Don’t be so quick to conform. I have a friend who hisses every time she gets a wedding invitation. Everyone else is getting married except her. I told her that her time has not yet come. A lot of those people will want to jump out of that marriage in 5 or 10 year’s time. It’s not a race. Don’t be a crowd pleaser. If you have to please anyone, you’re in the wrong crowd.

It’s difficult to see the light. It seems like the windshield is all misted up, all the time. Keep going. All you need is to see 20 feet ahead. When you get to the 20 feet mark, you will be able to see another 20 feet ahead. And before you know it, you’ve crossed the finished line. Victory!

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Michelle Okafor

Writer of short, inspirational pieces. Make the most of your time here, for we pass this way only once. See the good in yourself and others.