Easy or Not? So What!

 
I had a realization today. What seems easy for others probably wasn’t. That’s just the first part.

EasyI look at people, they might be people I know or complete strangers to me, but I look at their success and think why couldn’t that be me? All I see is their success, the end result of whatever it was that got them where they are now. What I didn’t see is the struggle to get there. What seems easy to me, observing from a distance, could have been very difficult for them.

But what if it really was easy for them? What if they didn’t struggle at all? What if they picked the right thing from the start and all their success came without much effort at all? Yeah, what if? The second part of my realization was that even if success came easy for someone else doesn’t mean it will come that easy for me. I could go into the same business they did, invest in the same companies, but for me it’s hard. Maybe I lack an essential skill, maybe I have to work harder, maybe my timing was different.

Whatever the reason, what I can’t do is be upset about it. I just have to concentrate on my work, on my path to success. Whether another person had it easier or harder doesn’t matter. I can learn from them, I can even ask them about their journey (and I might find out it wasn’t as easy as I thought or that it was easier), but then all I can do is take that information and try to make it work for me.


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Dumb Quotes

 
Today I’m starting a new series on the blog called Dumb Quotes. I have plenty of quotes, mostly pulled from my book, What Next, and some might just be dumb. Someone will read a quote of mine and think it’s brilliant (I hope) and someone else will think it’s ridiculous. Of course I’ll be using other people’s quotes in this series because I’m confident that mine are just fine the way they are.

This series will point out quotes I think are ridiculous. The sentiment might be worthy but the quote itself is just plain silly. Today I’m starting with one that you would probably think I like a lot because it references a topic I’m fond of, hiking. I talk a lot about paths and obstacles, about the importance of creating your own path and understanding that obstacles are not to be feared but are a natural part of every path.

BlockedPathMy dumb quote of the day (or week, or month, depending on how often I write these) is “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere” by Frank A. Clark. First of all I have no idea who Frank A. Clark is and I have nothing against him personally but I have seen this quote a few times on Twitter so why not start here?

What’s wrong with this quote? Well if it’s a path then by definition it leads somewhere. I’ve hiked many a trail without any obstacles and I’ve gotten somewhere.

I get it though, I do. If the journey isn’t difficult the destination probably wasn’t really worth it. Struggle is a part of life and we need to recognize that those struggles make the goal so much sweeter. The other thing about this quote is that obstacles aren’t the only thing that build character. The trail itself could be wide, flat, and straight – in other words easy, or it can be narrow, steep, and full of switchbacks – a real struggle. There might not be any obstacles whatsoever but it can be the most difficult path you’ve ever been on.

Do you have some dumb quotes that you find more annoying than helpful? Post comments below to add yours or tweet me @askwhatnext and use hashtag #dumbquotes.

 

 


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Life is like…

 
Make your own pathI haven’t been hiking in a while and I miss it. My favorite place to hike is the desert. The landscape and scenery is surprisingly diverse. One hike in particular took me from a low elevation scorched by the sun and heat to cooler, higher elevations among evergreen trees and snow. It was an amazing lesson in change and adaptation. Not only did the vegetation change the higher I climbed but so did the wildlife. I also had to change as the clothing I wore at the beginning of the climb, in the heat, would not be sufficient as I continued to a much cooler, even cold climate.

In order to be prepared for the various conditions the hiker must plan ahead bringing the proper clothing, enough food and water to name a few things. Another aspect of preparation is the conditioning that is necessary for longer, more strenuous hikes. Without planning for the change in climate or the difficulty of the hike you are at risk of failure, and failure at such an endeavor can prove fatal.

The hiker must also be honest with themselves and respect their limitations. Each hike builds upon the strength gained in previous excursions as you push a little farther each time. The distances I could go when I began hiking were significantly less than the distances I now travel. The equipment I carried early in my hiking was an indication of my lack of experience and over confidence. The equipment I now carry shows growth in my level of expertise as well as my respect for the endeavor. None of the following were in my pack on early hikes but are now: flashlight, heat blanket, nine volt battery, steel wool, and much more.

All these points have equivalents in life. The landscape of life is diverse indeed with incredibly hot times and very cold times and each of us has to be prepared for that change. People come and go from our lives as we continue on our path but each of them affects the direction we take. In order to be prepared for the different climates, and the difficulty of the journey of life, we have to plan ahead (but most don’t). The more we experience in life the more we can handle, just as a hiker who travels one mile can go two miles on their next trip. In life we need balance. We must be honest with ourselves, willing to admit when we need help but confident enough to test those limits. The packs we carry throughout life become heavier as we add new tools to aid us, but we should scarcely notice as our strength increases as well.

Life is like hiking, not exactly the same, but there are enough similarities that I use the hiking analogy throughout the book. Where will your hike take you?


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