Doing Hard Things Is the Cure for Your Uninspired Life
“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.”
I’m not sure when I first heard Denzel Washington deliver this gem, but I do remember the hundred pound truth bomb exploding over my head.
His message is simple: comfort gets us nowhere. Adversity inspires meaningful change.
21st century life is more comfortable than any other time in human history. Food is delivered to our doorstep at the push of a button. Unlimited information is available at our fingertips. People can work in their pajamas.
But what has comfort given us?
Extreme political and cultural strife, fracturing families, friendships and nations. A strikingly overweight population. Generations of spoiled, entitled brats. We’ve solved many of the “real” problems so we manufacture ones to take their place.
For years comfort was all I wanted. I played it safe, avoided conflict, and stayed in my lane. The cost? Ambition, courage, and honesty. Real happiness, joy, and excitement. A steep price to pay.
Life seeks to keep us comfortably numb. It encourages conformity. Obedience. A willingness to play your part to keep the system healthy and strong.
All this adds up to a rather uninspired life.
The remedy, I later learned, was rejecting comfort and embracing that which is hard.
Nothing energizes the mind, body and soul quite like stepping out of your comfort zone.
Think about the last time you did something hard. Something that challenged you. Maybe it was giving a speech to a crowded hall or running your first half marathon or asking that cute girl at the coffee shop for her phone number.
Your heart pounds in anticipation as the moment draws near. Your eyes widen as sweat collects in the small of your back. Your hands shake and your body trembles. Your focus narrows to the task at hand. Nothing else exists.
Your speech goes off without a hitch or you fumble a few words. You run the entire race or you walk most of it. She says yes or she says no.
The result doesn’t matter.
What matters is you had the balls to give it a go.
And because you gave it a go, because you abandoned comfort and allowed yourself to be vulnerable, you feel like a million bucks regardless of outcome. You realize what’s most important is carrying out the act itself.
You can’t wait to conquer some part of your universe the next day.
So the next time you find yourself in a rut or feel that something’s lacking in your life, do something hard. And I mean hard, not marginally more difficult. Something that gets the heart pumping and the mind racing. Something that forces you to come to grips with yourself and your preconceived notions of what you’re capable of.
And when you’ve done the thing, when you’ve opened yourself up to the world, you’ll find the sun is a little brighter today than it was yesterday.
“Most men live lives of quiet desperation, and go to their graves with the song still in them.” — Henry David Thoreau
Don’t live your life in quiet, comfortable, desperation.
I recently penned a post about the dire consquences of remote controls in our lives! Everything nowadays has a remote. We've engineered modern life to sit as much as possible, with predictable results.
I realized a while ago that I was comfortable with loneliness, but I wasn't happy. There's a huge difference. The brain will do anything it can to maintain the status quo and convince you that you don't need to change, even if you're suffering, because change is dangerous.