Stoic philosopher Seneca once said, “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” Doing hard things can be draining and uncomfortable, but it is where the most growth takes place. Most of us easily give up when this gets hard but it is when the going gets tough that we need to keep pushing. I constantly try to attempt relatively hard things periodically, and in the past three years, I have attempted the following:
- New sports: Volleyball, Badminton, Pickleball, Swimming and Basketball
- Learn a Foreign Language: Consistently perfected my spoken and written French by listening to a French podcast 1hr daily and moving to a French-speaking city.
- Programming Languages: Python and Java
- Run 15 Full Marathon 2022-2023: I ran six full marathons in 2022 and nine in 2023.
- Average 100+ Books per year across eBooks, audiobooks and physical books.
By engaging in the above activities, I have learned to trust the process, especially when the going gets tough and it will get tough. Whenever you choose to engage in something new, it will be tricky, even awkward, in the beginning, but with consistent and deliberate practice, you will improve. As Les Brown often said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Consistency is the name of the game. Hard things are hard, Seneca noted, because we do not attempt them and ultimately stick to figuring them out. The more you do, seemingly complex things like running multiple marathons in a year. Your self-confidence increases and usually transfers to other areas of your life. Learning a foreign language or a programming language can be very tough, so most of us give up on doing these hard tasks.
I have been learning, practicing and trying to enhance my French language skills since 2012. It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Still, I have always stayed curious even when I was not actively using the language—the Journey has not been straightforward, as I have tried numerous strategies to become proficient. I have attended multiple classes, watched movies and documentaries, read French books, listened to music, listened continuously to French podcasts, written blog posts in French and even moved to a French-speaking country. Most days, I want to give up. Still, I have put myself in a position not to give up by using different strategies such as changing all my gadget’s language to French, moving to a bi-lingual city, using the language activities and continuously trusting the process.
Choose your hard wisely by aligning them with your long-term vision for your life. I am committed to speaking impeccable French by 2025 because it aligns with my vision of becoming a multilingual public speaker. I am always looking for ways to achieve that goal. Hence, I read multiple books on productivity, biographies of endurance athletes and sports figures that have been able to complete the somewhat impossible.
Only helicopters hover—humans are either ascending or descending. People (and businesses) fall if they’re not putting in the extreme effort it takes to maintain their position and keep growing. The most successful businesses deploy a dual strategy of cannibalizing their own waning ideas while at the same time embodying a culture of constant reinvention—and constant reinvention is hard. Being uncomfortable hurts, but it’s supposed to hurt. Growth hurts. If you look at your day and see that it’s mostly filled with tasks you’ve already mastered, you’re too comfortable. If what you are working on won’t force you to update your biography if it succeeds, then why are you bothering?
In stories, characters who try hard things transform. They have to. The person they were is not enough to overcome their challenges. They have to get stronger, humbler, more tender, smarter. They have to change in order to get over the wall. And in the growing pains that come with transformation, there is an experience of meaning. 2
- Daily Calm with Tamara Levitt – Beschaulich
- Beschaulich is a German word that refers to the peaceful and contemplative well-being that results from living a simple and Unhurried life.
- Daily Jay with Jay Shetty – Like What You Like
- If we were free of the fear of judgment, we could lean into our light wholeheartedly without reservation. Sometimes, we tie our preferences into our identity, even going as far as to define ourselves by our stances and predilections. But when we are rigid like that, we miss out on loads of potential opportunities, growth, and joy. We block ourselves from evolving and learning new things about ourselves and the world.
- It is okay to like what you like, no matter how others feel. Do you and be you while allowing others to be themselves.
- BREAK The Cycle Of Self Sabotage & STOP Your Shame Spiral | La La Anthony
All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.