Train your mental muscles

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Beauty is pain, that’s the saying we often hear. For beauty, women are willing to wear high heels shoes, go on an extreme diet and workout schedule, wax unwanted hair… Well, they are all painful, but nothing compared to foot binding in China.

In the 10th century in China, there’s a tradition to bind little girls’ foot when they were 4-7 years old. It was done by binding the foot with thick cloth for three years. Before being bound, their toes were bent strongly towards the foot palm until the bones were crushed. All of these were executed without anaesthesia, obviously, so imagine the girls’ pain. The result was tiny feet (10 cm / 4 inches long), which were seen as beautiful and elegant.


Can you imagine a normal adult with 10 cm foot? Her foot couldn’t support her body properly – it would be almost impossible for her to work. Walking was too painful already.

And interestingly, those women were perceived as ideal wives. Why? Because she was weak and she fully depended on her husband. It boosted the man’s esteem, because the whole village would know that he was able to earn a living to feed his family without any help from the wife. In short, without the man, the woman couldn’t do anything.

Until now, I still shiver when I remember that practice. Being dependent to anyone is the thing I avoid the most.

I wasn’t born in a rich family. Well, I never starved or couldn’t pay my school tuition – and I’m grateful for that. But since I was a kid, I have to work and save money to buy things I want, such as Tamagochi, Harry Potter wand, cellphone, or my beloved Macbook Air.

My favourite lecturer once said, “Your mental strength, your endurance against pressure, and your resilience are like muscles in your body. If you exercise and train them regularly, they will become strong. Lucky are those who have trained their mental muscles since they are young! Because then when you face big problem, you are prepared and strong. While you, who have lived comfortably your whole life, you will find troubles when you finally face real life.”

Yes, I just realise how lucky I am. As I grow older, I realise more and more that I can’t and I don’t want to depend on anyone else. I work my ass off to earn a living, I invest my money, and I pursue my own dream. The journey is exhausting – there are moments when I just want to lie on my bed, whining and complaining. Then I remember this quote:

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weigh ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Sean Covey

So, which one would you choose?

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