How to do hard things

Hard things are the things that make you feel uncomfortable – so uncomfortable you would rather not do them if you could. The only reason you do do them is because they are the things that ultimately make your life worth living.

People who don’t do enough hard things often die with a head full of regrets.

My goal is not to end up like them.

So I want to learn how to do hard things.

How to do hard things

There’s only one way: grit.

I wish my high school teachers taught me more about grit than math. I am quite sure that it is often grit – not skill or innate talent – that has allowed people to become great successes. At least this is what my mother and a lot of people I admire tell me.

But, what’s grit?

This is an important question so I’ll answer it:

Grit is moving forward when you feel like giving up. You know, like the time when you went into an exam hall fully convinced your preparation wasn’t enough and that you would fail. Yes, THAT feeling, except in the adult version, nobody tells you what will come out in the exam or when the exam is going to happen.

Grit is doing anything you can to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Even if it means leaving a cushy job to become an underpaid boss, sleeping on a couch to save money or asking for help from people you are embarrassed to ask help from (like parents, siblings, friends, people you don’t know).

Grit is the thing you have to do by yourself. You can get money, a place to stay, credit, etc from someone else but grit is fully supplied by yourself. This can be a good thing. I once thought my success was impeded by a lack of resources. The funny thing is I found myself acting the same way when I had an abundant supply of resources.

So I think it’s never about what material things you have, but how much grit you have.

I used to think lacking capital was a valid reason to postpone a goal, but now I don’t. Now I think it’s an excuse. Saying that you lack capital is saying, ‘Hey, don’t blame me for my lack of progress! Blame the people who haven’t given me money!’

I don’t really know if this is a valid argument anymore. Maybe just moving forward with grit will bring you further than standing still and worrying about things you can’t control.


What grit can lead to

The (Maybe) Bad

1. Loneliness.

Having so much grit is uncommon. If you must have grit, find people who are doing the same thing. Only people who are trying to have grit understand what it feels like. They are the ones you can share war stories with.

2. 10 year journeys.

We think there’s a short-cut to everything. This is not true. For some things there are no short-cuts at all. C.S. Lewis was right. The longest way round is the shortest way home. The more short-cuts you take, the slower you move towards your goal.

If you want to be good at something, prepare to stay in it for at least 10 years. If you can’t or won’t, don’t even get started.

The (Probably) Good

Extraordinary achievement.

The only reason why you can achieve extraordinary achievement with grit is because ordinarily, people want to stay comfortable. Grit means leaving everything that’s comforting, breaking yourself into pieces, and then rebuilding yourself again.

Grit is also probably the only way to become extraordinary, which actually just means going through a lot of torture people would be happy to view from far instead of experiencing for themselves.

Why I’m writing this

I’m writing this because I had an exceptionally hard week, and I’m trying to comfort myself. If you had hard week, we’re in this together and I hope this helped a little.

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