Disclaimer: No fat biker died as a result of this post. I was going to say no fat biker was harmed but we all know that’s a lie. We’ve harmed some fat bikers.
I believe with certainty your willingness to do hard things, or your avoidance of hard things, will impact all areas of your life accordingly.
Doing Hard Things requires what I call a “FORCE OF WILL“. This is not your typical Google definition “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action”. It’s not an APP. There’s no website. No Best Selling New York Times book. No shortcuts. No success Hacks. You don’t buy it, you become it.
As soon as someone with this Force of Will walks into the room you feel it. There is an intensity. They act with purpose. Their convictions are clear. There is a mission and the mission must be carried out – successfully. Failure is not on the list of options. If they’re engaged in something they’ve never done — zero time will be wasted whining about “not knowing what to do”. They will figure it out. They always figure it out… because the mission must be carried out. They’re not warm and fuzzy, don’t get caught up in drama, they compartmentalize emotion in order to act and react objectively, and consistently align their actions with progress.
I want to stop for a moment and talk about how this Force of Will is dying in the workplace. It comes down to the Work smarter not Harder LIE. Make no mistake: IT IS A LIE. I like to work smarter as much as the next guy. It can save time. It conserves energy. But most guys are smarter than me… am I screwed? No. Why? Because I will outwork them. I will work every day. I do not recognize the weekend as time off — it’s bonus days. More time to get stuff accomplished.
We should be teaching what I was taught growing up – get up and work your ass off every day. Make a mistake, get up and do it again. WORK HARD and while you’re doing it pay attention – make better decisions through trial and error. Balance education through books equally through DOING. Anyone can read a book about doing XYZ… but only those who are willing to start, even when they don’t know where to start, will ever get it done! People believe they can hack their way around the HARD parts by reading a book, listening to a podcast, downloading an APP or buying the most recent Best Seller.
TIMEOUT: I love reading, technology, new processes, evolution, podcasts and just about anything you can think of that will educate me. I’m not some old geezer who pines for the old days. I believe people, families, communities, businesses, countries, and the world must evolve. But if you’re not willing to work hard, DO THE HARD THINGS, you are failing to maximize your potential and you will NOT achieve that which can only be achieved with maximum drive! The only means to an appropriate end is effort. Lots of effort.
Sometimes you have to be willing to put out more than you’re getting back in order to get where you want to be. Life does not hand out participation medals. Life is not fair. There is no substitute for grinding it out.
Speaking of EFFORT. Look around you on Monday at work. How many people are willing the do the hard things – put in the effort? How many are going through the motions? How many are just there for a paycheck? The incredible level of mediocrity infecting businesses today is scary. When I started working 100-years ago I’d work my ass off and show I could do the job BEFORE receiving the promotion. Once competency, skill and work ethic had been established – I would be offered the job. Pretty simple and sensible, right? Not anymore. How many people do you know or work with expect the title and the money before they’re willing to put in the time?
Workplace communication, specifically email, is a nightmare. In my opinion it illustrates the level to which people strive to do easy things. How often do you email someone and get no response? What happens when they don’t respond? Projects can stall, right? Do you sit there and let the project stall until that person gets back to you or do you call them and get the answer? Most people let the project stall, and when they’re boss asks about the project, they blame someone else. Hey, they emailed so-and-so, right? Not their problem. WRONG. This is an example of doing the easy things. People are learning to use virtual communication and electronic tools to defer responsibility and blame. Calling someone is the hard thing to do. Pushing for the answers is the hard thing. It requires commitment, ferocity at times, and inspired standards. Email is a place where I believe weak people hide and productivity dies. Strong people pick up the phone and get stuff done.
People aren’t working smarter, they’re taking shortcuts and putting in less effort. If I had my way HR would be run by drill sergeants.
We’re coming full circle. Here’s why Doing physical Hard Things is a key to a more productive and satisfying life experience inside and outside the office. Whether it’s the weight-room, ballpark, court, field, trail, or on the bike – improvement requires you to work smarter AND harder. Not coincidentally while kids are engaging in fewer outdoor activities, fewer gym classes, and spending more time staring at screens – they are losing the preparation, conditioning and toughness necessary to navigate the hard things life will throw at them. We need to change that.
You don’t cheat the weights in a gym – you cheat yourself. If you want to get stronger you put in the work. By putting in the work you come to understand it’s the effort delivering the results. You don’t just show up and get ripped. There’s no APP for it. You do the work. If you’re not doing the work it’s going to be exposed in the gym. You learn that and you adapt. You do the work. You learn when you’re not doing the work, like when you take a few weeks off, you have to gain back lost ground. Lessons so subtle and subconscious I don’t think we realize we’re learning them – but we do. We develop an appreciation for the outcome dedicated work will produce.
On the bike (or running) you have to prepare (train) smarter AND harder in order to improve. You get out of your training exactly what you put into it. You can’t cheat fitness, strength, and bike skills. You have to put in the time and the necessary practice. Successful athletes learn to prepare for competition by simulating the big event (as closely as possible) in their daily practice (Yes, Allen, I said practice). Habits you develop doing hard things lead to personal records and possibly wins. Those habits are applicable to everything else you do in life.
Doing hard things voluntarily prepares you for the unpredictable moments you must face hard times without warning. You’ve created mental maps to work through adversity. You’re already been there, therefore, it is not uncharted territory! Your mind has been tested and prepared along with your body. You push through, you succeed and you move on. You crush the moment instead of the moment crushing you. I mean really think about this: We all have the chicken littles in our life and the people who just bitch to no end about how unfair life is. How often is that a person you would say appreciates the doing of hard things? I’m going to guess zero. They all do easy things. They avoid testing themselves. They are weak and when the big moments arrive, when unexpected adversity strikes, the moment crushes them. Had they been prepared through a habit of testing themselves against voluntary hard times and adversity… their life would be different. Guaranteed.
Do a quick self-check. Are you steering away from hard things – be them physical or otherwise? If YES address it immediately – before IT spreads to other areas of your life. Buckle down. Do the hard things. Encourage those around to do the hard things…. and for the love of god stop sending me so much damn email! I’d love to talk to you.