“We choose to go to the Moon! …We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …” – John F. Kennedy
Today, too many people choose the easiest roads, the paths that are with the least amount of challenges and difficulties. Some will always use cheat codes and the easy mode on video games. Others try to find that ONE life hack that will help them bypass all of the others, in their quest to supremacy in their field. Others will attempt diets using starvation and pills.
While these shortcuts may have temporary success, what is the long-term impact?
Those who use cheat codes do well in their home, but never get better at the game.
Those that bypass the work and effort in their rise to the top are often looked down upon and are given little respect.
Shortcut diets may get you into that dress before your sister’s wedding, but may cause long term health issues, addiction, and later weight gain.
While it will take some doing to convince you to avoid simple work, we need to become people who are looking long-term and become willing to do things the hard way.
Why You Should Avoid Doing Easy, Simple Work or Tasks
1) You should avoid simple work so that you can test your metal.
What are you made of? If you never take the chance at that seemingly unreachable peak, how will you know if you can make it? ANYONE can do simple work. So you have little to look at within yourself when you do them.
Most of life is made up of the small, easy things. We can survive easy enough just going through the motions of life. When I do that, I wonder though what I could have done if I just pushed a little harder? I examine my character and wonder what life could have been like if I did NOT simply phone in my work.
Character is built on sweat, fear, and grit. The more you test your character, the stronger you will be. The more likely that you will have the confidence to face any – and all – challenges. Do the hard things so that you know what YOU are made of.
2) You should avoid the easy so that you can build muscles.
This is common knowledge among athletes. You must increase the weights or the reps if you want to get stronger. Doing the same tired exercises again and again, might enable you to maintain what you have; but will NOT allow you to grow.
What is true in fitness is true in all areas of our lives. We must face hard things because that is how we learn to overcome the problems of our modern world. Build your character muscles and overcome the temptation to steal, lie, or cheat.
Build your social muscles and you will have relationships that will last through any storm. Build your mental muscles and you will have the knowledge and wisdom to think your way out of intense problems.
Build your grit muscles and you will endure when others fall. The only way to build is to keep adding weight and challenge. Do hard things and avoid simple work so that you will have more muscle in your life.
3) You should avoid simple work so that you have a story to tell.
John Maxwell in an interview once told the story about this mountain tour company that had built a lodge about halfway up the mountain.
Many would-be adventurers would sign up for the full package, with dreams of seeing the incredible views from the summit. They would endure and overcome day-one of the adventure, ending the day at the lodge.
Interestingly for the company, after a night in the comfort of the lodge, most were unwilling to go on to the summit. They chose comfort for 24 hours and then hiked back down the mountain. When they went home though, they had less of a story to tell and they were often heartbroken.
For those who go to the summit, they have a story to tell others about when they get home. My best camping trips included disasters and difficulties that have become the stuff of legend in our family.
Difficult times will be laughed at when we look back on them. Pain is temporary – but the stories live forever. Avoid simple work or tasks so that you have a story to tell.
4) You should avoid the easy because legacy is built on accomplishing the impossible.
The mind of man has made multiple lists of what is impossible. Experts have boldly proclaimed that computers would have limited impact on our world, that man would never fly, and that the 4-minute mile would not ever be broken.
But we know that they were wrong.
Impossible is just an excuse to settle for less. Where are your targets? Are you settling for what has been done already? Yes, you might fail in your attempt at greatness.
Throughout history, there were countless soldiers who fought in war – but those that did the impossible have the Medal of Honor. Who remembers those who never attempted to do great things? NOBODY.
Someday, you will be food for worms. What will people say about you? Will they even remember you? When you do something that is hard, impossibly hard, you will establish a legacy.
I was told as a child that it is the struggle of the butterfly breaking from its cocoon that enables it to fly. I so wanted to help that butterfly break free from its prison. If I had done that, the butterfly might have been beautiful, but would never have had the life that it was meant to live.
Avoid simple work. Seek the difficult and fly.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt