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Does It Have To Be Hard?

Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.

I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Amuse Bouche

My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business.

The other day I decided to yell into my colander… I strained my voice!

Like any other amuse bouche, you may have hated it, but it was worth every penny that you paid for it, right?

Goal Success by Choice

Do you have dreams that you are trying to make come true? Do you have a goal that you are trying to crush? Success doesn’t happen by chance. You don’t have to get lucky or win the lottery to live the life of your dreams. 

You just have to choose to be successful. If you make the right daily choices, adopt good habits and behaviors, and approach life with the right mindset, you can make your dreams come true. 

Goal Success by Choice helps you make the choices that will move you closer to your goals and keep you from holding yourself back. 

I hope this post helps you get a little closer to crushing your goals.

Does It Have To Be Hard?

“If you never fail, it probably means you weren’t aiming high enough. If your goals are always achievable then you have set your goals too low. You need a little bit of a shot of ambition.”

Adam Grant

I am not sure where this post is going to go. I have a thought that I will develop through this post without a finish line in mind. This could be a rant or a soapbox, but I think it will be something important to say. I think it will make life a little easier for you, even if it is just inside your brain.

Recently, I was out for an afternoon walk (mile six or seven for the day, so far) and listening to podcasts like I often do. In the How I Built This interview with Adam Grant, he said the quote at the top of today’s post. This quote struck a nerve in me; I have been thinking about it pretty much nonstop since that morning. While there are some ideas that I agree with in this quote, I think it also hints at an idea harmful to our happiness.

Does our work have to be hard to be worthwhile?

I frequently hear that your goals always need to be just out of reach, and you always need to be straining to reach them. Only when you sweat and struggle every day is the finish line valuable; everything else is just a waste of time.

There are many other common sayings and quotes with similar messages. The intent of these statements is good; they are meant to encourage you to believe in yourself no matter how big the goal seems today. That is awesome! But, there is a more sinister hidden idea implied by these statements.

It isn’t ok to do things that seem easy to you. These aren’t worthwhile uses of your time, and you are squandering your precious gifts.

I think this idea is not just wrong, but it is also dangerous. It has led, in part, to the development of the toxic “hustle culture” that is starting to become a more common term.

Is Easy Bad?

I was in college when I started working in technology. It was the late nineties, and I was working in the Computing Services department at Ohio Dominican College (now University). The internet was just starting to become available to the average person, so the school was making a significant capital investment to wire the campus for their first network.

During this time, I learned a lot. Largely self-taught, but with some help from a professor and a few coworkers, I learned the following and more.

  • How to network computers
  • How to code in HTML
  • How to build apps in Microsoft Access
  • Basic web programming in the Perl and Cold Fusion programming languages

In addition to working for the school to build this technology and teach people how to use it, I also started my own freelance business. As a college student, I was being hired to build networks at small businesses, tutor professors, and help other students get online for the first time.

This new internet-enabled world of technology seemed like magic to others, but it came fairly easy to me. 

I used this knowledge and experience to build a great career in technology after graduation. I also kept building my skills. These skills led to project management which then led me to leadership. All of this helped me create the person that I am today.

Was it wrong because it felt easy to me? Should I have done something else that didn’t feel as easy? Of course not!

Each of us is wired differently. There will be some things that feel easy and natural for us. We will experience times where we are in resonance with the work we are doing and times that we get into “flow.” When everything just feels right, we need to embrace that and not second-guess if it is hard enough.

If you are happy and doing something that feels right to you, you are winning, not failing at life.

Hard isn’t bad either!

Just because some things feel easy doesn’t mean we should avoid everything else that doesn’t feel this way.

You can do hard things. You should do hard things.

Hard things aren’t my enemy; I actively seek them out. I have taken on stretch roles in my career. I have succeeded with significant weight loss and maintained it, which is statistically very hard to do. I push myself to set new weightlifting personal records in the gym almost weekly. I am building a business based on writing and coaching, which I have never done before.

I have no shortage of hard things that I am pushing myself to pursue. But, I am thoughtful and deliberate about which hard things I choose to do and why I am choosing to do them. I don’t insist that every aspect of my life is comprised of only hard things. I don’t feel like I am wasting my time when something isn’t hard.

Like many other aspects of life, there is no absolute good or bad. Both easy and hard pursuits have their place in our lives with the proper balance. Just like work and play need to peacefully coexist. With the right balance, there are very few things in our lives that are inherently bad – that includes food (and carbs)!

My suggestion is to figure out your goals for life and why they are important to you. Then create your plan for accomplishing each goal. If the work to achieve one of your goals feels easy and you are making progress, be grateful, not suspect of this work. You can do easy things. Just remember: not all of your work will be easy, some will be hard, and you can do hard things too.

You got this!

Did You Like What You Read?

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Published inGoal Success by Choice

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