Dear Why Team member,
This week we explore:
Why Choose Hard over Easy
Have you recently stopped to contemplate the abundance around you? Though, with so much abundance available today, literally at our fingertips, notice how we allowed convenience to convert us into an unhealthy collective in mind, body and sprit.
Well, here we go; a brutal fact of life is that the best life, the more appreciated life, comes from choosing the hardest most difficult path; better known as the road less traveled.
Think of all the products and services that promise quick results with no effort, they sell like hot cakes.
Consider the advertising targeted at those who veg-out late at night in front of their television lacking the discipline to get to bed early; they more often say yes to what is easy.
Even the often used description of vegging-out should wake us up, as it implies becoming a vegetable living on life support - likely provided by whatever is fast, quick and easy.
The temptation to choose the easy path has never been greater or more easy to take - we don’t even have to leave the couch to shop for whatever we want from around the world and it will be delivered to our doorstep. We’re not even getting the exercise we got walking around the Mall.
This is where we might benefit from understanding what it really means to become addicted. The cigarette smoker who actually wants to quit often says what? You know the line: “I’m not addicted, I can quit anytime I want”. And how do we often respond?
Okay, go ahead, show me.
More importantly, go ahead and show yourself.
There are three statements of wisdom carved in stone for each of us in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece known as the Delphic Maxims. We would do well to heed the advice:
Nothing to Excess
Surety brings ruin
Well, here is a great way to come to know thyself: Deny Thyself!
As mentioned last week, research reveals that we think about 50,000 thoughts a day and 90% are a repeat from yesterday.
William Wordsworth said habits rule the unreflecting herd. The question for all of us, is do we rule our life or do our habits rule our life?
Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. Maybe because if we are not examining our life, we are dead to habit; our habits of thought and behavior ruling over us.
How many today speak words they read and hear before applying any critical thinking? How many go with the herd and speak the herds word, losing their individuality in the process? The hardest thing to do for an individual might just be, living as an individual, willing to think differently and be at peace alone with our own discerning minds.
Listening to Earl Nightingale, you’ll learn that all the successful people are the ones who broke away from the herd and didn’t allow conformity to rule their lives.
Think on what is the hard way as opposed to the easy way. Saying no to easy is very hard, but saying yes to hard lifts up and feeds an individual with a life much more abundant - a life that more likely has purpose and meaning. Because, ironically, it takes purpose and meaning to say no to easy.
Believing everything is relative might conveniently remove all responsibility, but rather than being free, one finds themselves a slave to their passions.
There really is no easy way out. And because life is harder for you than someone else, it might serve best to say yes to the hard path of gratitude for the life you do have rather than taking the easy path of victim.
Often, the one who struggles most benefits most from the struggle.
When I first met with my father after 33 years of estrangement, beginning when I was age 11, he began to blame my mother for his choices. I stopped him and asked if he wanted to change my life. I told him I love my work, I have a wonderful family and am very much enjoying my life. He said of course not. Then I replied, well don’t change my past, you leaving me was one of the greatest blessings in my life.
Of course I would have rather had my father in my life, but his leaving sent me down a hard path of difficulty that grew me immensely. I got to experience what so many others have gone through and with help and assistance, came to receive insights I believe can help others. My pain gave me my purpose; I chose to look at it not as a curse but as a blessing.
There is absolutely no value in maintaining the victim mindset that one uses to excuse behavior and justify the easy path.
I absolutely believe and have experienced that it is the crosses we bear that can lead to our salvation - in the here and now.
And if it’s particularly difficult for you to choose the hard path, does that not define addiction? How about just delaying gratification as a test? Unplug, disconnect, fast one by one from food and all your creature comforts.
Choose the hard, break from the herd’s addiction to easy and see what is revealed to you.
The easiest choice is rarely the best choice. But choosing pain over pleasure is tough to do with so much pleasure at our fingertips. It’s hard to just be with ourselves, it’s easy to turn to a distraction. But know that growth opportunities come into every life; pain and suffering will most certainly come knocking at your door. It’s up to us to welcome it, say yes to the hard difficult path, learn, grow and overcome - because running away, ignoring the knock, distracting ourself saying yes to easy won’t stop the knocking until we turn and face what is trying to get our attention.
This week consider saying more no’s to what is easy and more yes’s to what is hard - and no doubt you’ll make it a great week!