Prompted: Make Things Easy
Nothing worthwhile in life is easy, but not everything needs to be hard.
To accomplish anything worthwhile you have to do hard things over and over again, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile. What if you could still get great results by making things easy? I hope this week’s newsletter helps you identify one way you can make your life easier and still improve the outcome.
The less tension and effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.
- Bruce Lee
Make Things Easy
Success is not easy. It requires a lot of hard work and isn’t very glamorous. Sacrifices are necessary and if you want to do what others can’t do, you have to be willing to do what others won’t do.
Athletes, special forces members, and other top performers often credit their success to their capacity for suffering. The repetitive practice of an athlete and purposeful misery experienced in special forces training means only those who can endure lots of suffering come out on top.
There is immense value in embracing the grind and pushing through monotonous work. Success is not attainable without it, but just because persevering in difficult situations leads to success does not mean everything you do needs to be difficult.
I’ll say that last part again. Not everything you do needs to be difficult.
Many people fall into a trap where they associate worthwhile pursuits and successful outcomes with suffering. We’ve learned that suffering leads to success, but that’s not always the case. Just because something doesn’t feel hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile or won’t lead to a successful outcome.
Making difficult things easier doesn’t make them any less valuable. Going to the gym is hard, but if you lay out your clothes the night before, put your alarm clock across the room, and make plans to meet your friend there, it gets easier. Once you’re at the gym, you don’t need to work yourself to exhaustion to see results. You can leave feeling refreshed and energized and still make massive fitness gains over time.
You don’t need to suffer to see results.
Instead of using difficulty as a barometer for the value of an activity, why not focus on outputs? If you can get 90% of your desired output with 50% of the input, do it. The return on the investment of your time and effort is exponentially greater and you’re not overworked, tired, or constantly suffering. In fact, you might even start to enjoy things you used to dread.
This is not to say that everything in life will be easy. There is still immense value in hard work, but if you play your cards right, there are likely a few areas where you can make things easier while improving or maintaining your results. Don’t make anything harder than it has to be and save your energy for the truly difficult and worthwhile things in life.
What would this look like if it were easy?
Where can I scale back my input/effort and receive a similar outcome?
What am I making more difficult than it needs to be?
Relax for the same results - Derek Sivers
A short blog post (2 min read) looking at effort vs outcome.
How to Properly Use the 85% Rule - Coach Blaise
Legendary track coach Bud Winters found athletes raced faster when he asked them to run at 90% effort instead of 100%.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.