Feel the Pain and The Pleasure will Follow


Rody Mulcahy is Reillys next door neighbour and a loyal friend to boot.

Together they’ve amiably and peaceably trekked scores of miles back and forth the Flaggy Shore.

Rody, despite being a Golden Retriever, always puts Reilly in mind of ‘The Bold Thady Quinn’.

For ramblin’ for rovin’ for football or courtin’

For drinking black porter as fast as you’d fill

In all your days rovin’ you’d find none so jovial

As the Muskery sportsman the bold Thady Quill’

The thing was, Rody loved life. And lived it with gusto. He’d neither fear nor prejudice.

Alsatians. Pitbulls. Rottweilers.

Male. Female. Other.

Galway. Clare. International.

Rody was a social animal and treated everyone – canine and human – with total equanimity.

And his days of unrestrained hedonism would have continued untethered but for the scourge of modern technology.

It coincided with two unrelated series of events in Linnane’s Lobster Bar last summer. One was the disappearance of a medium-to-rare cooked steak from a patron dining al fresco at the rear of the Lobster Bar. The other was the installation of CCTV recording equipment.

And whilst there was never a scintilla of footage to prove that Rody had purloined the steak, it was unfortunate that he featured in much of the footage surrounding the incident, contentedly licking his lips.

And you know what they say about giving a dog a bad name! None of your ‘innocent ‘til proven guilty’ lark in the canine community.

Rody was summarily dispatched to a life of ‘fast and abstinence’ in the confines of his own home.

It was Statty, the Pubs resident Techie, who was tasked with inventing the method of incarceration. He explained it to Reilly in the pub.

‘It’s so simple Reilly. I installed a tiny chip in Rodys collar that will activate a slightly painful shock in him if he approaches the perimeter of the site. Technology is indeed man and dogs best friend.’

‘There’s no way Statty that a chip on Rodys collar will ever restrain his natural instincts. Nature will always win out in the end. I bet you a pint I can coax Rody out the gate.’

There was nothing Statty preferred more than a challenge and he was already outside Rodys gate the following evening when Reilly returned from town.

Reilly took science seriously and had prepared well for the experiment. He’d acquired a Supermac’s Snack-box in Oranmore with an extra portion of curry chips.

‘Now Statty, we’ll compare chips. You’re technological chip versus my curried chip. Let’s see how Rody responds.

Reilly sat down opposite Rody – both of them on either side of the wire that Statty had concealed beneath the ground, and opened the Snack-box.

Reilly couldn’t believe it. He could see Rody eyeing the chips and throwing his nose back to savour the waft of the curry sauce. Thick swirls of drool dripped down his neck.

Yet, not a budge. He refused utterly to move beyond the perimeter.

Reilly feared the worst before providence arrived in the form of Alice Donnellan, a coquettish little terrier from three doors down the road. She must have been attracted by the smell of the chips and come up to check things out.

Totally ignoring the food Alice lay down ogling Rody with the most seductive doe eyes. They seemed to beseech Rody to come out and frolic with her as in times past.

Her eyes seem to say.


Rody went berserk but still refused to feel the pain and cross the line.

He was torn utterly between the perceived pain of crossing that line and the allure of what lay beyond it.


Reilly sauntered down to the beach for a swim this morning.

There was a bitter cold wind whipping in from the East.

He’d probably had one too many last night and he could feel a bit of a chill coming on.

He then began to imagine the pain of stripping off and plunging in to the Atlantic which is at its coldest in late February.

There was nobody about. He’d lose no face by not going in. He had no accountability, or did he? He knew he didn’t have to go for a swim and he could easily slink back to the luxury of the heated seat in the car.

And then he remembered Alice chiding Rody.


And he did.

And he felt mighty after.


  • Rody’s not the only one who lives behind an invisible cage.
  • We are constantly erecting invisible cages in our business and lives created by our fears and discomforts.
  • We delude ourselves into thinking that to go beyond our limit will induce pain and therefore it’s easier to stop trying and quit.
  • And it will be uncomfortable momentarily.
  • But here’s the magic. When we commit to feeling the pain in the moment, and going beyond it, we encounter a disproportionate amount of pleasure.
  • It’s a simple life truism that in order to experience pleasure you first have to get the pain over with.
  • The ground moves the day you commit to living on the edge and pushing beyond it, no matter what it takes.
  • Eventually you will realise that it cannot actually hurt you to go beyond your psychological limits.
  • Enlightened people live life on the edge and push through it.


Mickey Singer is a fascinating character who is part hippy; part serial entrepreneur; and part sage. He wrote a beautiful book called ‘The Untethered Soul’ where he addresses this notion of going beyond our comfort zone, limit, edge. Here’s what he said about them.

‘Nothing can ever bother you except your edges, and now you know what to do with them. You end up loving your edges because they point your way to freedom. All you have to do is constantly relax and lean into them. Then one day, when you least expect it, you fall through into the infinite. That is what it means to go beyond.’



  1. What pain will you push through today in order to experience greater fulfilment and pleasure?
  1. Is it better to delay getting started by weeks or months so you can be fully prepared? Or is it better to start right now with little to no preparation? (Please send your answers by email to Reilly at I’d love to hear your answers to this question.)

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