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To Succeed, Suffer

“Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

That’s great advice from a highly successful champion. Those words come from Mohammed Ali, three time heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Like most champions, Ali’s success did not come without suffering. “I hated every minute of the training,” Ali reported. “But I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Success comes only after suffering. But, in America, suffering is a foreign concept. Delayed gratification sounds dirty. We want the goodies now. Students in school wail, “This is no fun” as if that means it should be avoided. Adults whine, “Church is boring” as if that means is should be avoided. (I don’t think it should be boring, but even if it is, we still should go.) “This is hard” we complain as if that indicates we should quit. We live in a microwave age, but success cooks in a crock pot.

Ali is hardly the only one offering this advice. Financial trainer Dave Ramsey repeats often “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” The renowned Somebody said, “Discipline is doing what you really do not want to do, so you can do what you really want to do.” Zig Ziglar puts it this way: "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.”

More importantly, God long ago said the same thing several ways in Proverbs:

  • 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty”

  • 24:27 “Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

  • 13:4 “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”

  • 28:19 “He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.”

See the point? Success has a price and it’s purchased on a lay-away plan. Pay the price up front in daily installments and eventually you get to take home the prize. The prize may vary depending on what you want – a drug-free life, a happy marriage, successful children, a trim and fit body, a deeper spiritual life. Whatever the prize, there is always a price.

Want to live as a champion? Be willing to suffer now so you can succeed later.


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