Do You Glorify Struggle And Things That Are Hard?Sep 22, 2021
I didn't understand when I was in the midst of it, but I've made everything harder than it needed to be. When things were easy, I questioned the legitimacy of the circumstances, and when I was rewarded for being successful I felt that I needed to punish myself more in order to justify the rewards.
Without knowing why I was doing it, the more successful and the more money I made, the more I caused myself more pain.
It wasn't until everything collapsed under the weight of my self-imposed punishment that I understood why:
I glorified struggle and things that were hard. Easy wasn't valuable. If it wasn't hard it wasn't worth doing.
That's just pure insanity.
Life Is Hard. Making Money Is Hard. Everything Is Hard.
Has anyone ever taught you that life is hard and that making money is hard? Did your parents and teachers create the belief in you that life is all about struggle, stress, and sacrifice?
As a young boy I was surrounded by people who made a living out of convincing anyone who would listen that everything is hard. I grew up in a lower middle class, blue-collar family in Baltimore, Maryland. I come from a lineage of union laborers, and the common themes that were discussed at the dinner table were that the rich are greedy, corporations are crooks, people who don't work hard are lazy, 'the man' is always trying to steal your money, and that in order to be valuable you need to do hard things.
With all of those teachings in my home, in my German- Catholic neighborhood, and by seeing everyone around me struggle, I adopted those beliefs as well. Who was I to doubt the adults I admired and who were my authority figures?
When Things Come Easily, Make Them Hard
As I grew older, when things were too easy, I made them hard - because life was hard, right? So I made life hard even when it wasn't hard. Who was I to prove my authority figures wrong? I wanted them to be right, because I loved and admired them.
I joined the United States Marine Corps because I chose the hardest challenge. I chose one of the most challenging intellectual career paths in the Marine Corps. Why would I choose easy? Life is hard, right? I kept choosing hard. I ascended the ranks quickly and effortlessly (ahead of my peers), and found myself in a leadership position - ranked the #1 Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in my functional division, the Sergeant of the Color Guard, and received a near flawless performance review. These things came easily to me.
So I kept pushing. Faster. Sharper. Crisper. Cleaner.
Life is supposed to be hard, right?
I left the USMC and joined the ranks of corporate America. I ascended ranks quickly and effortlessly, and I soon found myself the leader of $65 million and $350 million businesses. It all came easily, so I began working 12-16 hour days and would visit my plants 6 and sometimes 7 days of the week. It was too easy, so I needed to make it hard.
Life is hard, right? It all came too easily. I should be punished for that. Life is not easy. Life is hard. I really loved my parents and I wanted to prove them right. Things were coming way too easily for me. So I wasn't suffering and struggling enough.
This went on until ultimately I was so unhealthy, unhappy, and unfulfilled that I almost committed suicide.
Life is supposed to be hard, right?
Our Beliefs Create Our Reality
Life is not hard. Life is as hard as we believe it needs to be. Here's the reality of this human experience:
When we are between the ages of 0-7, we'll believe anything we're told. We trust those people we love and those people who are in positions of authority. We believe anything they say because we love them and because we want them to be right. When they pass on their beliefs to us about "how life is", they are also passing on their worries, fears, and self-doubts, and as human sponges we believe anything they say.
We want them to be right above all else to prove why we love them. We literally don't possess the ability to discern between what is fact and what is their personal perspective. So we consume and absorb their beliefs...
And we make them our own.
When life conflicts with the beliefs we hold, we will find a way to make the beliefs we hold correct. Even if that comes at our own expense.
If we believe life needs to be hard - we'll make it hard.
If we believe the rich are greedy - we'll make sure we don't become rich so we're not greedy.
If we believe that we are flawed, broken, and inadequate because people convinced us we were - we will play small because of the inadequacies we hold.
We will literally make whatever we believe, true - even when it's not true for everyone. We make our beliefs reality, and when we don't realize that this is a belief and not a truth, we think there's something wrong with other people's perceptions.
We hold our beliefs as sacred, and we don't want our loved ones to be wrong, until we notice that we're just causing ourselves harm and making ourselves miserable. At that point we get to choose whether to hold on to our obsolete painful belief, or to let it go and choose another that serves us and helps us live a wealthy, successful, and joyful life.
You get to choose not to make your loved ones wrong, but to prove a new, higher set of beliefs right.
Since I hit the reset, I've proved over and over that life isn't hard, making money is not hard, and that everything is not hard.
Everything is awesome and easy. And I choose easy.
Your beliefs create your reality. Challenge and refine your beliefs to live life on your terms. As soon as you do you'll see evidence all around you that your new beliefs are correct.
You'll see that it was the beliefs you once held that was holding you back from living your life by design.