Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trout Fisherman in Hell

Came across an excellent section in Chris Brady's book PAiLS. It was a great reminder for me and very encouraging. Enjoy!

God Bless,
Jason Jasper

Trout Fisherman in Hell

There's an old story about a fisherman who believes he has died and gone to heaven as he catches one perfect two-pound trout after another. As he sets his fly am hooks into yet one more, he can't fathom his good fortune. The sky is blue, the weather ideal, the fish are biting like never before, and everything is absolutely perfect. It is not long, however, before the realization dawns on him but he is not in heaven at all. Instead, as the boredom and pointlessness settle in on him, he realizes he's actually in hell.
It's hard to describe just how hard this little parable hit me the first time I read it. I was blown away by the concept that if everything little thing were absolutely perfect, the overall situation would not be. In one moment, this realization erased all my whiny complaints about how difficult and elusive success seems to be. The trout fisherman in hell story is so extreme, so seemingly ridiculous, that we are confronted with a strange and puzzling fact: We may hate opposition and struggle, but they are critical for our mental health. Without the struggle, we would feel no joy and victory at all.
How can this be? How can it be true that we are actually happier and more fulfilled when overcoming opposition then when everything is easy and simply rolling our way? It is because of the way we were made. Without a battle to win and an enemy to vanquish, the value of the warrior goes to zero. In the famous words of Thomas Paine, "what we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly." In other words, if we don't earn it, we can't enjoy it.
This is profound, and it ought to provide a telling answer against all those dismal statistics above. If we consider only statistics and the "odds of success," most of us would never get out of bed in the morning, much less find a way to force ourselves to study for that upcoming calculus exam or go after that higher level certification for our job. You see, it doesn't matter how difficult successes or what the odds are of making it. What matters is our struggle against the opposition, the force of our will against the force of everything that would try and stop us.
Not only does it for Phil us to have something against which to push, but the process also makes us better. It is the resistive wait that builds the muscles. So ultimately, it doesn't matter whether success is hard. What matters is simply that we pursue it anyway.

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