Often, what keeps us from progress and doing the things we want to do for progress in our careers, businesses, and relationships is that the journey is hard.
Spoiler alert: Everything is hard!
I did not like to do hard things until I figured out that Everything is hard, so everything must be simple. So if everything is simple why are these same things hard? Because hard is relative to time. The amount of time you give anything dictates the outcome you will get. If you give zero time, all you will ever get is dumb luck.
If I spent the time improving my writing skills, writing will not be hard.
If I spent the time in Statistics class and brushing up my stats, a degree in Stats will not be hard.
If I spent the time to save today, I will have healthy financial habits.
There is strong evidence that shows that everything you have done in your life is hard. You just spent the time to make it simple by:
- Building a habit around it.
- Getting incentivized to do it.
- Or you got the returns quick enough (E.g: You get paid monthly for going to work).
I can not think of any kid that liked to brush and bath. Today, we all do these things that used to be hard. What changed?
Going to school was hard for many kids. I know people that disliked school as kids, and they are all excited to get an advanced degree. What changed?
Getting out of bed early is hard. Being kind when someone has been rude is hard. Learning a new skill is hard. Starting a company is hard. Making money is hard. Doing great work is hard.
Literally, everything is hard! We only choose to do the hard things that we currently do, because there is a clear incentive to do it.
You should not live life on incentives if not it will be hard to find happiness. Plus there is no progress if you always need external factors (incentives) to motivate you.
If you agree that everything is hard, you need to trick your brain into believing that everything is simple if it spends the time to do the hard things. At least, that is what I tell myself.
How to start doing hard/simple things
- The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Read my post on how to prioritize what you need to do today by using Jeff Bezos regret minimization formula to future-regret.
- Not everything is worth doing. You want to discover what you like by trying many things then build a technique in what you love most. Read this Twitter thread to explore my thoughts on techniques.
Schedule everything into small tasks. Turn everything you want to
dointo a project and break them up into small tasks. True freedom comes from scheduling everything. If you do not schedule the time to do new things, there will be no time to do new things.
- You are human, you will still fail at these easy things but everything is within your control. Be optimistic. Build a mindset where you make things happen. Rather than wait for things to happen to you. Read this post by Morgan Housel.
- Always try and be better. All of
humanprogress has come from people wanting to do better. If you do not strive to always be better, you cannot attract people that will help you be better. See the tweet below about my thoughts on being better.
Finally, how to know you are doing hard things. Hard things always add value to you. If it is hard and not adding value, then it is just hard work. Hard work is good, but too much hard work gives a false cloak of doing hard things whereas you are living in misery.
Example: You are new to Excel and I give you 100 values in an Excel sheet to sum. The hard thing would be to figure out how to sum with an excel formula. While hard work would be using a calculator to solve this. One added value to you and gave you a skill relatively few people have, the other just wasted your time.
The summary of this is:
EVERYTHING IS HARD, SO EVERYTHING MUST BE SIMPLE.
This is the mantra that I use to get myself working when I feel lazy about something that seems hard.