Troubles are actually achievements for this kind of realist. Another friend, a champion wrestler, kept a poster on the wall of the basement where he worked out with weights. It showed a man straining to lift a weight, sweat fairly bursting from a grimacing face, veins bulging on his neck. The caption read: “There are two kinds of pain. The pain of discipline. And the pain of regrets.” That thought kept my friend going when he descended into the depths of that basement to do the painful things he knew would make him a champion.
It also reminded him that reality is not a matter of agony or ecstasy: it is always agony and ecstasy. Hope is the truest grit, the toughest realism. And that, we may take personally.
Leadership, Fall, 1994, page 154