Canadian Contractor

Robert Koci   

How to enjoy being a struggling renovator by bringing Future You back here

"thank your lucky stars that you have struggles and suffering to engage you, to improve you, to define you"

I had a moment not long ago where I was having so much fun that I was full. By that I mean there was no more room in me—no capacity—for any more of the great, wonderful, pleasurable feelings I was having. And before your brain starts guessing what nefarious activity I was indulging in, I’ll tell you it was while I was floating around in a rubber dingy at a local beach at the end of a very successful, sunny day of sailing with my wife.

What was notable about the moment was that, beyond the recognition of how wonderful it felt, was the thought that accompanied it:  Pleasure is not enough. It was not enough to simply enjoy the pleasure of that moment and to extend it in my imagination to a string of moments like it to the end of my life. Yes, it was wonderful and fulfilling, but not fulfilling in the bigger sense.

We all know that life includes suffering and struggle, but it was the first time I understood the need for it in living a complete life. When I arrived at work the next day, the sense for the value of struggle was heightened. More importantly, I didn’t fear it. In fact, though I didn’t know in what form it would come, I was looking forward to it.

I can’t think of any pursuit with greater challenges than self-employment, and employing yourself in running a renovation and custom homebuilding business is assurance you’ll get your fair share of suffering and struggle.

One way to overcome your suffering and struggle is to have a plan and vision for your future. We’ve often said so in the pages of Canadian Contractor. Vision gives you the energy to solve problems by promising a brighter future if you do.

Another way is to embrace it. Recognize that the pleasure you have planned for your future as you overcome your struggles won’t be enough. It will be wonderful, that’s for sure, but I am willing to bet that sometime in the future you’ll have a similar experience where a fulfilling moment comes with a realization of the emptiness of it, and you understand why there are so many stories of people who successfully extract themselves from suffering and struggle only to jump right back in.

Learn from Future You, floating around in a metaphoric rubber dingy, satisfied and happy but unfulfilled. Bring that person back here, to their past, in the middle of the struggles they are overcoming, and thank your lucky stars that you have struggles and suffering to engage you, to improve you, to define you, to grow you into the person in the dingy, not just with the pleasure of a sunny sky and a good life, but with understanding and a willingness to embrace struggle and suffering without fear.



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