Featured 3 Comments 

Download PDF

Experience a Breakthrough by Confronting Your Pain

By Mar 20,2017 Follow Me on Google+

View Count: 2257

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
Most of us carry many personal problems around with us in life; by not confronting them, however, we only make ourselves even more miserable. Problems build up as you ignore them, growing until they ultimately control your life; everything changes when you come to face your problems and take back control over your affairs. The sooner you confront your pain and work through it, the faster your will experience a breakthrough and transform your life.


One of the darkest moments of my life came during my second year of high school when I was living in Bangkok, Thailand. I was sitting in my bedroom in an apartment building, looking at a backpack filled with all sorts of school work I needed to do that evening. I was failing most of my classes and was very unhappy as a result. I realized if I continued on the same path I was on, I would inevitably be presented with the worst life had to offer. I had the same backpack for several years. Each day after school, I would take my books home from school and would refuse to study. Over the course of a few years I’d been kicked out of one private school, and I’d done poorly in every other school I’d ever attended. I left my books unopened because I didn’t want to study and face what was inside.

The problem was each day I didn’t open the backpack, things would get worse and worse. The algebra class I was taking would move further and further away from me, becoming progressively more difficult to understand. The Spanish class I was in would learn more and more words, with which I couldn’t catch up. The history class would leave me seemingly decades behind. With each day’s scholastic failure it became more likely that I never would go to college. And more likely that I would soon be kicked out of another school. In addition, the more I ignored the work that needed to be done inside that backpack, the more books I would need to take home each evening. I’d been in school for a few months and the backpack had grown so heavy with work that I could barely carry it any longer.

At that time, I was a horrible student, and didn’t have a lot to look forward to in life. The best part of my existence, as it is for many kids, involved the time I spent out on Friday and Saturday nights. In the evenings during the week, I wasn’t allowed to go out and have fun. Instead, I was required to stay inside and study. Of course, instead of studying most evenings, I would do anything but. I would read crappy fiction novels and spend my time thinking about things completely unrelated to school. Sometimes, I would drink liquor with my stepsister. Anything but study and face the problems inside that backpack.

I want you to understand something at the outset: That backpack is a metaphor for the problems many of us carry around in life. We all have an incredible number of issues that are tucked away in the back of our minds, making us uncomfortable and holding us back. The longer we ignore these problems, the more they build up, controlling and governing a large part of what happens to us in our lives. Try as we might, we can never fully suppress our problems. We can choose friends that don’t remind us of our problems. We can choose jobs or careers that allow us to keep our problems in the background. We can occupy our time and our minds with all sorts of things in order to avoid dealing with these problems–and almost all of us do.


 job title, keywords


 city, state, zip

Something about this one evening in Bangkok was different, though. I knew I needed to open that knapsack and face what was inside. I was in my second year of high school, flunking all of my classes. My life was headed in the wrong direction. I opened the knapsack, took the books and notepads out, and put them on my desk. I held the empty knapsack in my hand, opened the window of the ninth floor apartment building I was in and tossed the bag out of the window. A gust of wind picked up the knapsack and carried it like a kite. I watched for several minutes before that old backpack finally disappeared, as the sun set over the city.

I sat down that evening and studied all night. I did the same for the next several weeks. I took a nap each afternoon after school and was tired all the time. However, within several weeks I caught up in school and was eventually back on track with my studies.

For the next several years, I never carried a knapsack with me to school. My reasoning was that if I carried a knapsack, I would never face the work that needed to be done inside of it. It was symbolic for me but very powerful. By the end of that first year of not carrying a knapsack, I was the top student in my class. My life changed completely, and it was largely due to my facing what was inside of the knapsack. Carrying those school books home in my arms each evening forced me to look at them, rather than keep them hidden.

When we face our problems, everything changes. Most of us are hiding problems, issues that are uncomfortable for us beneath the surface. We suppress and avoid them at all costs–pretending they aren’t there at all. Your life is probably being controlled to a large extent by the very issues you are avoiding.

I have attended numerous seminars in the past, and at the best seminars I have witnessed individuals experiencing “breakthroughs”–truly life transformative insights, which altered the course of their lives. When people have these breakthroughs, they end up experiencing more happiness, peace, love, and less fear in their lives. Typically, when people experience breakthroughs there’s a massive change that comes over them. It starts when years of built up tension leaves their faces, and their bodies become more relaxed. The people look noticeably happier than before.

A breakthrough means the food you eat will taste better.

In the few times I’ve followed up with these people after their breakthroughs, I’ve seen that their lives have undergone fundamental and profound shifts. It’s incredible how successful some of them have become. They have created giant companies. They have started families. They have become better workers, husbands, wives, and children. I’ve been impressed to no end by these stories, and have learned from them that a breakthrough is something that’s available to everyone.

Typically, the process of experiencing a breakthrough is as follows: the leader of the seminar will start questioning individuals about one aspect or another of their lives. For example, someone may get up and start talking about his life, which is horrible because his mother hates him. The leader of the seminar will then spend an hour or more showing the person how their mother actually really loves him, demonstrating this with one example after another. Once the person accepts that his mother loves him, the person’s relationship with the world is fundamentally altered forever. It’s an incredible thing to witness because some of the fundamental ideas, around which a person may have based his entire life, are changed completely. As a result, the person is able to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Most of us feel a tremendous amount of discomfort in regards to people, or various situations throughout the average day. In fact, our lives are typically more controlled by what we avoid and move away from than the things we are comfortable with. We build rituals and have other methods for keeping ourselves comfortable, which allows us to avoid the things with which we are uncomfortable. Most of us spend our lives distracting ourselves, avoiding these challenges instead of coming to terms with them.

For a shift to occur in your life, you need to learn to face the discomfort you feel and to navigate through underlying issues. As much as you may hope for it, these issues will not simply go away. It starts with having an awareness and acceptance of the pain or issues you’re trying to avoid. Then you need to experience whatever it is that causes you discomfort, totally and completely. It’s only by doing so, that you will be able to move beyond the discomfort and feel better. Anything when fully experienced, has the power to fully transform you. It’s in awareness that you learn.

When most of us are angry or feeling discomfort, we focus on others instead of ourselves. We are always looking outside of ourselves for the explanation for why we feel uncomfortable and angry. For example, imagine if you were shot with an arrow this very second. What most people would do is look around them and ask themselves “WHO SHOT ME WITH THE ARROW!?” However, logically the first question that should be crossing your mind is “HOW CAN I GET RID OF THIS ARROW?” The focus should be on fixing the problem instead of looking for someone to blame immediately. It’s appropriate to blame someone, of course, but you also need to address the source of the pain and this should be your first priority.

Find the source of the pain in your life and confront it. The sooner you confront your pain and work through it, the faster you will experience a breakthrough and transform your life.


Most of us carry many personal problems around with us in life. By not confronting them, however, we only make ourselves even more miserable. Problems build up as you ignore them, growing until they ultimately control your life. Everything changes when you come to face your problems and take back control over your affairs. The sooner you confront your pain and work through it, the faster your will experience a breakthrough and transform your life.

Read More about Appearing Defensive and Angry:


Search Employer Websites
Post Your Resume to 65+ Job Sites
Resume Service

For a step-by-step guide to transforming your career in just 44 days—including interviewing, where to find jobs people are not applying to, negotiating the best offers and strategies for the on-the-job success—check out Harrison Barnes' Career Transformation System.

You May Also Enjoy These Posts By Harrison Barnes

  • mohana

    how can i get rid of this arrow-YEAH…GOLDEN WORDS…

  • As usual Harrison, this was yet another awesomely powerful sharing! Thanks!

  • “Every single thing I’ve written of any power or merit came through using the tools Barry taught me. Usually counterintuitive, sometimes dangerous, they only changed my life.” —Stephen Gaghan, Academy Award–winning writer of Traffic and writer/director of Syriana “Barry Michels and Phil Stutz are profoundly talented guides to the inner workings of the psyche. The Tools is breakthrough material that ignites your own capacity to transform your life.” —Marianne Williamson “These tools are emotional game changers; they can help you work through conflicts, get happier, and feel a deep sense of purpose. As simple and practical as they are, they do nothing less than deliver you to your best and most powerful self.” —Kathy Freston, author of Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Filed Under : Featured, Life Lessons

Tagged: , , ,


Junior Commercial Litigation Attorney with products liability experience


Phoenix office of our client seeks junior commercial litigation attorney with 1-...

Learn More

Employment Defense Attorney with 5+ years of litigation experience

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks employment defense attorney with 5+ years...

Learn More

IP Patent Attorney with 2-5 years of computer engineering experience


Milwaukee office of our client seeks intellectual property patent attorney with ...

Learn More




Legal Secretary

USA-FL-Fort Lauderdale

Prestigious and long established boutique law firm downtown Fort Lauderdale seeks an experienced civ...

Learn More


USA-CA-Los Angeles

Under the supervision of lead attorneys, the firm is seeking a paralegal who will be responsible for...

Learn More


USA-CA-Los Angeles

The firm is seeking a business immigration attorney who will work closely with clients on business i...

Learn More

Job Market

Choose Your Negotiations Wisely

By on Oct 18,2017

Everything is negotiable, and thus it is important that you choose your negotiations wisely. First, judge your negotiating environment and determine when you can and cannot negotiate; in many important matters, negotiating may actually work to your detriment. Your success in both career and life depends far more on your contributions than your negotiating skill, and having things offered to you is always preferable to demanding them.

continue reading

recent posts

Related Posts:

Want Powerful Career Advice?

Get my free newsletter and strategies that make people successful