Talent & Skills Thesaurus Entry: High Pain Tolerance

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

Spartan race
When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

High Pain Tolerance

Description: the ability to suppress pain and keep going is nothing short of heroic, and in many circumstances, is necessary for survival. Pain from injuries can fog the mind and break the body, so…

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities:

A strong, fit body, mental acuity, commitment to the current action, belief in oneself, strength of will, a strong need that surpasses all else…

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent:

Determination, intrepid, observant, knowledgeable, energetic, relentless, disciplined, courageous, balanced…

Required Resources and Training:

While there can be a genetic component to having a high pain tolerance, much relies on the ability to focus on what’s important and set aside all distraction. Meditation can be key to achieving the state of “mind over matter” required to rise above pain and focus on…

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • Athletic competitions and races
  • Survival situations (being lost in the wilderness, caught in a mine collapse, suffering from heat or cold exposure, etc.)
  • War…

Resources for Further Information:

Heal Thyself: Mind Over Matter

Stopping Pain With Your Mind

Talents and skills not only make our characters stand out, they often help them attain their goals. So choosing them strategically can greatly enhance both the character and the story.

If this is something you’d like to learn more about, you can find the entries in their entirety at One Stop For Writers, where all our thesauruses are cross-referenced and linked for easy navigation. If you’re interested in seeing a free sampling of the Talent and Skill Thesaurus and our other descriptive collections, head on over and register at One Stop!

photo credit: cogdogblog via photopin cc


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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Dave Cochran
2 years ago

Worth mentioning – although discipline and focus are one way of improving pain tolerance, it’s also the case that reduced pain sensitivity can be a symptom of ADHD – possibly as a result of finding it easier to distract oneself from the pain. This is my protag to a tee – she once got completely sidetracked in the middle of a fight with a bully, because when he slammed he into a garage door it made a really cool sound…

2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Cochran

Yes, underlying physical and mental causes can also be a factor and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. 🙂

Cynsational Information & Giveaways | JanNews Blog
6 years ago

[…] Character Talent & Skills: High Pain Tolerance by Angela Ackerman from Writers Serving to Writers. Peek: “Ache from accidents can fog the thoughts and break the physique, so creating a excessive tolerance degree for it could actually enormously improve one’s efficiency and endurance in most conditions.” […]

Monday Must-Reads [06.09.14]
6 years ago

[…] Character Talent & Skills: High Pain Tolerance | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS […]

C. Lee McKenzie
C. Lee McKenzie
6 years ago

This is an interesting trait to imbue your characters with. It made me think about an old TV series with David Carradine. I think it was called Kung Fu and it ran for years. Undoubtedly, the appeal was the inner strength of the monk.

Rosi Hollinbeck
6 years ago

Another great entry. This is one that certainly comes up often in thrillers, but now I see many more uses for it. Thanks.

Julie Musil
6 years ago

Another awesome entry! Thanks, Angela

Tim McCanna
Tim McCanna
6 years ago

I’ve suffered from chronic pain since ’85 and have gone through all sorts of therapy, rehab and medications. I lost most of the 2000’s to high levels of narcotics until my doctor’s moved me off of them when their efficacy quit working.

What I’ve learned to do is to exercise by walking as many days a week as I can and to keep distracted until the exhaustion of the day puts me to sleep (along with some medication to fight bipolarity). Creative distractions seem to be the best for me and that is why I write two to four hours in the morning everyday. What I didn’t see mentioned in the blog, is how draining pain is. It literally saps your energy away. This can lead to being exhausted and then to be being depressed.

My nephew and his daughter are “gingers” who are genetically able to handle more physical pain. However, there is a cost. Medication doesn’t work well on them or wears off too quickly.

I wanted to post this, not as a litany of problems or personal hells I go through, but just to give personal insight into the realm of pain on a daily basis.

Thanks for the blog. It’s a topic that I need to think about in the abstract at times to remember how well I actually have it.

Tim McCanna

Traci Kenworth
6 years ago

My family seems to have a high threshold for pain. A lot of times, we can’t feel physical conditions such as heart problems until it gets really bad/almost too late. We also tend to not show up on tests such as EKGs. So unless they go in and find the blockage, it goes undiagnosed.

:Donna Marie
6 years ago

I just love the traits you point out 🙂

Lori Schafer
6 years ago

The “lightbulb” moment in this for me was how you describe pain tolerance as involving having the ability to maintain focus on what’s important. So much more interesting than the usual physical definitions, and a terrific concept to explore in writing.