We live in a world where working hard seems to be a requirement to become successful. In fact, when things are easier than they should be, we find ways to make the harder. We think that if we don’t work hard enough, we don’t deserve to succeed.
And because of that, we tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. I’m guilty of this myself. I’d like to share with you five stories in which I made things way more complicated that they needed to be just for the sake of working harder.
My Quest to Stop Eating Junk Food
I love eating healthy, but if I have junk food at home, I eat it. It used to piss me off. I wanted to have more self-control, so I kept buying junk food at the grocery store and promising myself that I wouldn’t eat it. But I couldn’t. The solution was simple: I stopped buying junk food. When I wanted a bag of Cheetos at 1am, I didn’t feel like driving a mile to the grocery store, so I had a piece of fruit instead. At first I was angry that I lacked the self-control and needed to trick myself in order to accomplish my goal. But then I realized that I had found an effective way to stop eating junk food, so why should I care? It worked!
There’s no shame in acknowledging your weaknesses and finding workarounds. If it works, that’s all you should care about.
My Ex-Girlfriend and My Wife
My ex and I used to fight all the time. We had to work really hard to make things right. We would be OK for a few days and then start fighting again. I’m so stubborn that I didn’t want to admit failure and I wanted to make it work out.
But one day I admitted that if you have to work so hard at a relationship, you’re not with the right person. Then I met my wife. She’s my best friend, we never fight and I love spending time with her. It doesn’t feel like work at all. The four years we’ve been married have been the four happiest years in my life. Working hard isn’t always a good thing.
Getting In Shape
Five years ago I broke my collar bone playing rugby. I did my rehab and was ready to start getting in shape to play rugby again. I decided to train five times a week. The first week I trained four times, the second week only twice and the third week only once. I knew that hiring a personal trainer was going to force me to train five times a week, but I’m so stubborn that I wanted to prove to myself I could do it without a personal trainer. It wasn’t a money issue; it was a pride issue.
I couldn’t do it on my own. Finally I realized that there was no shame in admitting a weakness and asking for help. I hired a personal trainer and went back to my 5 sessions per week schedule.
Forcing Myself to Like Museums
I don’t like museums. There you go; I said it. But I wanted to like museums so bad! I wanted to show my friends how sophisticated I was. When I went to Europe for the first time I went to a few museums and I hated them. I wanted to be outside, walking, talking to locals and eating great food.
I finally admitted myself the truth: I didn’t like museums. And I decided to stop forcing myself to go to them. Now when I travel I do the things that really make me happy. And yes, I do go to some museums once in a while.
Trying New Sports
I’m 220lb and have less than 10% body fat. I’m strong and I’m fast. I’m good at action sports, like rugby, soccer and tennis. But one day I decided to start training for a triathlon. Not because I wanted to do it, but because it was more difficult. I hated every minute of it. I’d get bored after running a few miles or swimming a few laps. My body isn’t built for endurance; it’s built for throwing things (or people). Once I acknowledged that, I went back to the sports I love and am good at, and suddenly I was twice as happy.
All the great things in life are difficult, but you should ask yourself if you’re making things harder than they need to be. If you really want something and there’s an obstacle along the way, by all means figure out a way to overcome that obstacle. But don’t obsess on overcoming obstacles for the sake of overcoming obstacles, because chances are that you’re not making progress, you’re just working hard for no reason.