Easy, difficult

These things are easy:

  • Doing homework
  • Studying for an exam
  • Lifting weights
  • Running
  • Recording a podcast
  • Writing a blog

Everyone knows how to run (it’s like walking, but faster). Everyone can look at a book. Everyone can pick up some weights. If you can talk, you can host a podcast. And if you know how to type, you know how to start a blog.

These things are hard:

  • Discipline
  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Attention management
  • Saying no
  • Choosing what to work on
  • Humility
  • Perseverance

Homework is easy. You sit down with a book and a piece of paper, and you do the homework.

Discipline is hard. By ‘doing’ discipline, you fight back against your primal desires to watch television instead of practicing long division. And fair enough; there’s no such thing as a long division problem more exciting than an episode of Breaking Bad.

We can choose to embody these qualities. We can be the kind of person who says no to a night out at the bar when they’ve got a newsletter to ship the next morning. We can be the kind of person who has the discipline to do their homework. But instead, we choose not to. We choose to say yes to stuff we don’t want to do, to please people we don’t like. And we do that because it’s easier than running laps around the park.

Someone with all the above qualities is a rare sight to behold. But when we see someone embodying these qualities, we take their hard work for granted. We become like the guy at the museum, staring at a Mondrian, saying, “I could have painted this.”

Well, you didn’t paint this. Pier Mondrian painted this. And if it looks so easy, so simple, so rudimentary that you could have done it in your sleep, then why didn’t you paint this?

They had the discipline to get better everyday. They had the resilience to deal with rejection. They had the patience to deal with setbacks. ‘No’ became their favorite word. They had the humility to improve. And they had the perseverance to show up everyday despite how nice it would feel to stay in bed.

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