Sometimes breaking it will make it better


Let me shock some of you today: Sometimes, pain and suffering are good for you.

Wait! Don’t go crazy and damage your body before reading what I am going to write next. We need to be reasonable, OK?

Let me explain: Many times, people get better by experiencing a traumatic event such as getting trigger-point treatment in a massage session, by re-breaking a bone or burning out from the computer after years of engaging in bad behavior. Pain and suffering are necessary for things to get better in life. Don’t believe me? Go ask an economist if reducing interest rates is always the best course of action in an economic recession.

Let’s not forget how pain and suffering can help students. Without reading books and spending countless hours memorizing and applying knowledge gained, students won’t complete their college degrees, and guess what? They won’t build the necessary skill sets they must have in order to succeed in life.

When students go to a college or university, they aren’t only learning course content. The better ones understand that by pain and suffering, they are building resilience to face adversity in life, which is, in my opinion, worth $15,000 a year.

Most PhDs have to experience pain and suffering when pursuing their degrees in graduate school, when going through the process of tenure, and when writing a book or two in their careers.

When we use technology excessively, we get both positive and negative feelings. Back in 2011, I got a severe burnout from using tech devices nonstop. Although I got clinically sick from it, I’ve come to learn that experiencing pain and suffering from overusing computerized devices was actually good for me. It has helped me to wake up from this modern-day nightmare and create a research agenda addressing the danger of these tools in society.

Since then, I have spoken on the topic with over 22 million people, including you! Experiencing pain and suffering, as far as technology use is concerned, may be good for you.

Do you think that I don’t know? What I am writing right now isn’t popular, but I know that some of you agree with me. Why? Because what I am writing here is real. Read carefully: Failing to “keep things real” backfires. Remember, pain and suffering are part of life.

Do me a favor. Get a copy of this column and give it to your grandkids. They need to read this.

Many people have to break an old wound in order to make it heal better and stronger than before. It is no different when it comes to technology. People aren’t facing the pain and suffering that are required for them to stop using their smartphones excessively.

If we break a bone in our body and this bone doesn’t set correctly, many doctors would recommend re-breaking the bone in order to fix it. In the end, induced pain and suffering will be better for the person, as his leg won’t hurt as much anymore. Facing our addiction to technology head-on is a must if we are to live a good life. It will hurt less in the long run.

Very few people in our society want to face smartphone pain and suffering today. How can we fix our TechnoCrazy problem, then? We won’t, I bet.

From this standpoint, burning out from the computer doesn’t seem to be a bad idea. I know, and you know, as well. Not too many people will be able to deal with this idea that experiencing the pain and suffering of a burnout will be good for them in the long run. I understand. Yet, I bet this solution will be more beneficial to them than the alternative.

We all experience pain and suffering in life. In 2018, we need to realize this more than ever.

It is OK to experience some pain, suffering, or both, in order to gain control of your life over technology – or regain control.

A burnout is a small price to pay for regaining control of yourself. If we have to pay this price to regain our humanity, so be it.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at