Humans are wired to seek out comfort.
When we do hard things it’s uncomfortable. No wonder we run from hard things as if they’re a brown bear wanting to eat us for lunch.
In the last year I’ve faced many hard things — having a kid, buying a home, running an online business, and fighting a lawless community organization.
I love my daughter but she’s hard work and keeps me awake most of the night. I love owning a home but the mortgage payments aren’t easy to fund. I love owning my own business but sometimes customers test your limits.
And I don’t love big fights. But sometimes community organizations force you to become the town sheriff to bring them back in line.
The mayor and his councilors scared the sh*t out of me
This week I had to deal with that last point.
A rogue community organization has turned by new home and surrounding area into a madhouse.
Everyone was too scared to fight them and tell them “No” out of fear they might retaliate. So I took on the task.
I’ve spent 5 months fighting their blatant disregard for the law. As a consequence my worst fears came true.
They showed up at my house three nights in a row to intimidate me. The man had a huge belly, yellow teeth, white hair, and a look of authority. A look that quietly said “You’re dead meat, how dare you.”
They stood outside my daughter’s bedroom with a smile on their face.
They knew they had me.
They knew the one thing I loved more than my cause against them.
We don’t have guns in Australia so when someone threatens you, all you’ve got are your bare hands to fight them if they attack you. As a skinny white guy, I’d have no chance. I’m a cuddly bear — not Rocky Balboa.
I had to face these demons. It’s been real hard.
“Is this worth it?” That’s what I can’t stop thinking. Two nights ago I had to present in front of my local council and the mayor. I had to brief them on the situation on behalf of hundreds of residents.
15 minutes before the meeting I was shaking. I haven’t done Toastmasters or public speaking since right before the 2020 bat virus broke out.
I thought I had muscle memory. Wrong. I’d forgotten how to do the hard task of public speaking. What made me sweat was what I had to say.
It was harsh. I had to stand up in front of the Mayor and tell him that one of his employees had given out my personal details and home address. That’s how these vigilantes were able to come to my house and intimidate me.
It wasn’t an easy thing to say. There are huge consequences for making an accusation like that. But I made it anyway. I did the hard thing.
Saying hard things isn’t easy but you almost feel better after you do. The end of this story is still being written, but let’s just say my tiny random act of bravery may have helped more people than just me.
Make a contract with yourself
Hugh Jackman had a strange career.
In his youth he worked at restaurants, bars, pizzerias, and even a gym. None of the jobs were glamorous. They didn’t teach him much.
But he did learn one thing: they were all open 24/7 and their success required years of hard work to get them started and keep them going.
Hugh wanted to be an actor so he made a contract with himself. He had to work hard for 5 years and only after that could he give up.
He went to acting school and sucked. He was bottom of the class. Others were better than him. They were born naturals. They had a charisma and confidence that he could only dream of.
Hugh worked hard at acting. The harder he worked the better he became. When the 5 year contract with himself had almost expired, he got the part of Wolverine in X-Men. Now everyone knows his name.
Success looks easy. It’s not.
Behind every success is a lot of hard work that is conveniently skipped over to make the person look superhuman (that’s why we love superhero Marvel movies after all).
Boring hard work, done for 5 years, on the right goal, is hard to beat.
What navy seals can teach us about hard things
Navy seals are machine gun killers.
Some hate the murderous lives they live. Whether you like them or not, it doesn’t matter. They have one of the hardest jobs in the world.
They eat hard for breakfast and don’t throw up. They have a mantra that you’re going to love. When something is hard and it sucks ass, they say:
Their mindset transforms instantly. They go from avoiding the hard thing to being attracted to it like a magnet.
- Start a business and go bankrupt? Full benefit.
- Got taken advantage of at work and had to quit? Full benefit.
- Got laid off? Full benefit.
- Lost someone you loved? Full benefit.
The takeaway here is that “adversity is an opportunity.”
Adversity generates wisdom.
Adversity shows us the potential of who we can become.
Adversity becomes a story that either empowers you to new heights or becomes a victim story that ruins you. Choice is yours.
Unlock the full benefits in life by leaning into adversity and doing hard things, instead of living in a pillow-covered bedroom.
“Life is hard. Believing it should be easy makes it harder.”
There are so many benefits to a hard life.
When you need results to become confident, you’re attracted to easy things. When confidence comes from messing around and figuring sh*t out, you’ll naturally choose hard things.
Author James Clear says “The hard way is the fast way.” Looking for shortcuts seems easy…but it just distracts you.
If you choose easy you’ll have to work 10x harder and likely never get it right the first time. If you choose hard, you won’t have to keep doing the same dumb stuff over and over because success will happen sooner.
Most of your competition in life chooses easy. Only the top 1% choose hard. And when you choose hard you join them. It’s a nice place to be. Money comes easier. It’s more relaxing. Fulfillment is higher. Meaning is deeper.
And flow states happen effortlessly on hard mode.
What I’ve found is when I do hard things, like face the mayor and report corruption, I gain evidence in favor of the successful person I want to become. That evidence becomes quiet confidence.
I’m less influenced by gurus and experts, too, and more likely to follow my gut towards my obsession and natural-born curiosity.
Everything gets easier when you play the game of life on hard mode.