Do you have some great ideas? Do you sometimes see yourself doing something different with your life? Do you daydream about going certain places, buying certain things, or meeting certain people? What is it that keeps us from bridging that gap between dreaming about these things and actually going out and doing them?
Our brains are wonderfully made. They come with built in reflexes and other safety features to protect us from harm. The reason you look at yourself in the mirror and think you look pretty good, but cringe when you see a picture of yourself, is because your brain protects you on a daily basis, allowing you to see yourself each morning as better than you likely are. Another protective action your brain will take is to fill you with all the reasons not to follow through with great ideas to protect you from failure, ridicule, and loss.
When great ideas pop into your head, they are usually followed quickly by thoughts of all the difficulties that would come with turning those ideas into reality. But the only way to get from where you currently are to where you want to be is to work through some hard stuff. I like the way Garrett Gunderson, author of Killing Sacred Cows, refers to it. He uses the words hard-easy. This means that in order to get to the easy part of any endeavor, you need to get through the hard first. We tend to do easy-hard… doing the easy, and continuing to do the easy, in an effort to avoid the hard.
Anything exceptional in our world today went through hard first. Think of some of the pioneers, like the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller. They all achieved incredible success, doing what others thought impossible, and all went thorough difficulties, criticism, and set-backs. But their vision and determination kept them on track. And many others could have achieved what they did, but did not because they did not want to deal with the hard.
When you are driven, have a clear vision, and are on purpose, the hard is hard, but you push through because you know the easy will come. Anticipating the hard is critical. To think you are going to make a radical change in your life, develop something noteworthy, or achieve something only the few or possibly no one else has, and think it will be easy, is a recipe for disaster.
You essentially have a couple of choices… continue doing what you are doing and living the way you are living, knowing it will be easy, or commit to change, accept the hard that it will take, but know that the easy will follow (as will the results you are seeking).
If you are overweight and out of shape, but want to get fit and strong, it will not be easy. You will have to lay out a plan, work on it daily, and make sacrifices… all hard. If you want to become financially secure and right now your finances are in shambles, it will be hard. You will have to change your lifestyle, alter your spending habits, and put an investment plan into place and stick to it… all hard. Sick of your current relationships, in a lousy, unfulfilling marriage, or at odds with your siblings or children? No easy repair available. It will take time and effort. It will be hard.
Do not let hard stop you. Your brain will come up with a thousand reasons why you should not take action. Accept the hard to get to the easy. You should not only accept the hard, but embrace it. A muscle gets bigger after it is torn down and damaged by lifting weights. Bone gets thicker and stronger when it is put under pressure and strain. Hard doesn’t only get us where we want go, it builds us up and makes us better in the process.
Nothing great ever came easy. Even those that make things look easy went through the hard at some point. I repeated a quote over and over to my children as they grew up… Every master was once a disaster. I wanted them to understand that the people they admire, the talents they seek, and success of any kind begins with hard work. First, commit to doing the thing or things you’ve dreamed of. Next, remember hard-easy. Finally, know that the hard is worth it.