Sickness, hunger, thirst, and loss of family/friends are probably the hardest things we’ll have to face in life but most of us won’t have to face these issues in large doses. Outside of that, what in life is really that hard? More specifically, do we overuse the term hard? 

I was in the middle of pulling a 13 hour shift at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City when I began complaining to my coworkers that I still needed to run 12 miles after I got off at 10:00pm. My coworker silently leaned over to me and whispered, “what is so hard about that?” I looked over at him and was like, aaaaah, what? He cleared his throat and clarified: 

Nothing in life is that hard, you just don’t want to do it. I used to work three jobs and complain the same way until I had the realization that working isn’t that hard, I’d just rather be doing something else. Only a few things in life are hard.

 

This may have been one of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve ever received, as it’s reshaped my perspective on how I tackle challenges. To this day, I still quote the same man when things are getting “hard” and shake myself up to get a better perspective. I can think of handfuls of times where I perceived things as difficult and opted for the easier path. Imagine throwing a rock in your backyard every time you opted for the easier route. How many rocks would you have after a day? After a week? Over the course of a lifetime? How much farther ahead in life would you be if you chose to perceive them as manageable barriers rather than hard tasks? If we dissect our day into manageable tasks, we can see the simplicity of each task and accomplish more. Don’t let a productive schedule be confused with something that is hard!

With my newfound inspiration, I hopped on the treadmill after work and ran until 1:00am. How do you like them apples? Believe it or not, the “following” day I woke up 7:00am and instantly regretted it. Which plays an important lesson on understanding the need for balance. Sleep deprivation is not easy, and we can’t burn the candle from both ends! 

In short, Don’t let your ego get in the way of understanding when enough is enough but keep your commitments sound enough that you’re able to have continuous productive results! Whenever I start to get lazy, I recall this conversation and ask myself if what I have to do is really that hard. More often than not, I choose to take the higher road and I’d like to think I’m better because of it.