Here’s the thing. I enjoy cooking but dislike washing dishes. And somehow after I have finished preparing a meal, the sink with its bulging pots and pans dampens my joy.
Thing is, you are not going to cook a meal without making something dirty. I’ve actually met a few people out there who enjoy washing utensils, but for me, it is always a mammoth task.
Sometime last year, I met a chef who gave me a tip that has helped. “Cook and clean as you go,” he said. His logic – it is easier to wash one than ten – was simple. “The problem,” he said, “Is letting the dishes pile up. Don’t think about it. If you make one item dirty, just wash it immediately.”
I tried it out. It works. By getting the ‘hard thing’ out of the way, I was able to leisurely enjoy my meal.
Life is full of hard things. Things we would rather not do either because we don’t enjoy them or we find them difficult and demanding.
It also doesn’t’ help that there is usually an easier, more pleasant alternative. Like listening to music instead of studying, talking to a friend instead of filing paperwork, watching TV instead of working out, saving your money instead of spending it at a sale.
In his online blog, popular American speaker and business strategist, Dan Waldschmidt puts it this way: “You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
You have to get up earlier than you want to get up. You have to give more than you get in return right away.
You have to care more about others than they care about you. You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter. You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is. You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off. You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option. You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts”.
You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot. You have to try and fail and try again. You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you. You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled. You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong. You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you. You have to do the hard things.
The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.
Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.
The hard things are the easiest things to avoid…The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage – or desperation – to do.”
Thing is, doing hard things, is well, hard. However, we have to weigh the cost of doing hard things versus the cost of the outcomes if we don’t. In life we are promised pain.
Either the pain of discipline by doing the hard thing or the pain of disappointment when we don’t. Think of it this way: the man who pushes his body through exercise has to break through his pain barrier.
Meanwhile, the man who leads a sedentary life, and backs it with unhealthy eating habits has only postponed his pain.
It may come later through a disease. Both men suffered pain, one of them just postponed his pain while the other achieved some measure of physical success through it. So do the hard things.
Life, we soon discover, is easy when you live it the hard way, and hard when you live it the easy way.