Hard can be Easy

Day 32 Week 5  Q1 Wednesday, February 1, 2023

There are some things that you are done just so often that they have become easy. They have become easy for you. But for someone else watching you, they may say wow, that is hard. And it probably was really very hard for you before it became easy. What if there is something you really want to be able to do and know that you have to spend a long time doing it for many hours and perhaps for many years? And one day, you wake up and do this thing you have been doing over and over and over again and find it somehow became easy. It is a great feeling. Don’t forget to notice these hard things which have become easy. Presumably, you knew this and simply committed to working at something, which became a habit, and through repetition, it eventually became easy.

Playing a musical instrument is one of those things, and no, I am not talking about taking lessons and practicing exercises which I never ever did. But I did play not work. And I played every day just to feel good—some days for five minutes and some days for 90 minutes. And rarely missed a day. And never once did I do a single homework assignment or exercise or even tried to do the same thing over and over again. All I did was play because it made me feel good.

Some years later, much to my astonishment, I found that I could really play an awful lot better than I remember playing, and it was really easy because I would never have done it if it were hard. It really does not matter what the behavior is. It could be writing, or pool playing, or swimming, cooking fabulous meals, or giving speeches, or managing, or writing patents or even starting companies. You do not need to do exercises for most things in life. You just do them and do them some more, and eventually, if you were getting something out of doing them, you get better and better at them.  

For all of these things, Hard can be Easy. The trick is you have to be getting something out of what you are doing and not doing it to get better. You are doing it because you are getting something out of it. In order to get great at anything, you have to do it an awful lot, and if it is a chore and a task, then it is simply hard. Too hard for me to do it anyway.

So much for homework. I tended to read the chapters that interested me, not the ones that were assigned, and over time if it was a subject of interest to me and I was really enjoying doing the work, then it was never hard. As an undergraduate, I eventually became a physics major and did graduate with a BS in Physics. People used to tell me all of the time that it must be so hard. But for me, it was much easier than simple things like spelling or following orders. I did not initially notice that when reading a novel, I could read 100 pages per hour, but when reading a physics textbook, it sometimes took me an entire hour to read a single page, and then I may have felt the need to reread it another two or three times. So I guess it was hard, but it felt easy because I did not notice how long it took.

I am sure there are things in all of our lives that are like that. Do more of them, and then Hard can be Easy. On the other hand, there may be things that you think you should do or others think you should do, which are really very Hard. Ask yourself if you really need to do the things when other things really are a turn-on to spend an enormous amount of time on.

True excellence really takes a lot of time, no matter who you are. If you are doing things where the path is enjoyable, you may discover you have become excellent when you were not even looking or even thinking about it. Have you ever been walking and found you had covered miles without thinking about it? Not me. I find walking kind of boring. On the other hand, I have found myself miles away from where I started in kayaks, just one stroke after the next. Hey, different strokes for different folks.

It is hard to imagine getting terrific at anything you really do not get a lot of joy from. But it is easy to imagine doing something very hard that you do not notice because it is easy for you.

Hard can be Easy, but only if you are doing what you want to do and are getting something from it.

Yes, Hard can be Easy.