It doesn’t matter how you define it, doing the hard thing is, well, hard. But the hard thing is most often the thing that we really need to do to make a difference for ourselves or others (often both).
Regrets rarely accompany doing the hard thing and often go hand-in-hand with choosing the easy option. Although I am the first to admit that I am fundamentally lazy, I beginning to realize, much too late in life, that laziness has caused me many times to avoid the hard things that I was more than capable of doing. The real problem is that once the pattern is established, it becomes very hard to break. But change is always possible. Of course, change is one of those things that we generally classify as “hard.”
We all have regrets, but those who take the road less traveled often have fewer regrets than those who always choose the easy answer. No one really wants to reach the end of their life filled with regrets, but without constant vigilance, we regularly avoid difficult decisions and challenging situations and later, when we look back all, we have to show for it are regrets. Often we have just lost sight of the price we pay in regret by taking the easy road. The good news is that it is never too late change.
1. The “What If’s”
When you take the easy road, you’re filled with “what ifs” – What if I would’ve done the hard thing? What if I would have tried something new? What if I would have been brave enough to (fill in the blank)?
It is rare we ask ourselves the standard “what if” questions when we follow a more challenging path or make the more difficult choice. Often the reason the hard choice is difficult is because the outcome is much less obvious. So even when a challenging option doesn’t quite turn out as expected, it is usually fairly easy to guess what would have happened along the easy road – and usually, it’s not as good as even the unexpected outcome of the more difficult option.
2. Limiting Your Potential
Regardless of the challenge, anything we perceive as difficult is bound to result in some sort of growth. Even when we try and don’t succeed (or fail completely), we’ve learned something along the way that we can apply to the next challenge. By repeatedly choosing what would be deemed a safe option, we ultimately stunt our own personal growth and potential. Although the regret might not appear immediately, it often will surface when you least expect it.
3. Missing an Opportunity to Achieve Excellence
Excellence is never achieved through mediocrity. Easy options at best lead to expected, average, or mediocre results. At some point, good enough stops being good enough, but excellence never gets old. True excellence only comes from pushing our boundaries and moving outside our comfort zone. Facing these kinds of fears and unknowns is always going to be hard, no matter how many times we do it. Yet in the end, the result of achieving something truly worthwhile is worth the hard work it took to get there.
4. Feeling Uninspired
Inspiration can be found in many places, but doing rote or known activities is not one of them. The nature of choosing the easy option is you already have a good idea what is needed and how to reach the goal. Repeating what you already know does not require any engagement of your creative skills and over time will leave you feeling uninspired. However, doing something that is hard, without an obvious solution, creates opportunities to use problem solving skills which is the most basic form of creativity.
5. Not Doing What You Know Is Right
Doing the “right” thing, regardless of the circumstance, is rarely easy. Whether it is standing up for your beliefs, protecting the vulnerable, or just saying focused on your personal priorities, doing what you know in your heart is the right answer often takes courage. However, even when the consequences are challenging, doing the hard, right thing never leads to regret.
What’s the hard thing you’ve been putting off? You’ve probably got an idea or a dream in the back of your mind, tempting you to step up to the challenge and try something new. But something has held you back – most likely the fear of the unknown, or a lack of confidence. I can help you get over that fear and finish that difficult task or make that hard choice – together we’ll work through it step by step, and I’ll be there to offer support & guidance along the way. Click here to sign up for a Boost of Confidence and we’ll tackle it together.