Re: Measuring success
Had a well-meaning young fellow tell me that the pain I was experiencing was "just in my mind". Very spiritual guy. My reply was that he could stuff it up his smug tailpipe -- the pain was my greatly narrowing lumbar spine squeezing down on multiple nerve bundles... Something I've dealt with almost daily for years. And if it's all in my mind I'd be happy to hit him a few times in the spine with a baseball bat and *then* he can tell me all about it being "just in my mind".
A few weeks later I saw him sitting out because he had a minor headache. I didn't bother going over and suggesting that it was all in his head and that he should just ignore it. Although I did get up close to him and loudly ask how he was feeling, hoping it was a migraine... "DO LOUD NOISES HURT TOO?!?!?! HERE LOOK IN TO THE HIGH INTENSITY FLASHLIGHT. DOES THAT HURT? YOU KNOW YOU CAN CHOOSE TO IGNORE THE PAIN!"
In all seriousness, sure, there is an approach that those of us who suffer from chronic pain and/or disease have to adopt in order to cope. But in my experience most of the folk who are so easy with the advice about "just letting it go" haven't dealt with years of debilitating pain. Yeah, just getting on with things is about the only choice. It's not like you have any other. But I promptly shut my mouth the moment someone I know who has chronic pain or disease who decides to sit out. I just smile, shake their hand, and say "Please, by all means. Take care of yourself."
My measure of success? That I can still train and/or teach sometimes. Even with the pain.