Let’s start with the basics of how to succeed at anything in life. There’s an event you want (getting rich, getting fit etc.) and then there’s a carefully orchestrated process you have to follow to get to that event.
Without following the hard process, there is no real self-made success in life.
Now, there is a common wrong assumption that once you come to the final event, you can stop following the process. That once you achieve your goals, you can just relax and enjoy life ever after. Well, that’s not completely true.
After you achieve the final event you want in life (your goal), you have to either continue following the process (acquirement process) or initiate a new one (management process). Let me explain with examples.
You may assume that once you get a six-pack, you can stop working out. That’s wrong. After you achieve the desired body fat percentage with hard exercise and a strict diet, you still have to follow the process at least to the point to retain the status, and that’s usually still hard work.
But even more often, you initiate a new process, following some other fitness goal, either to improve aerobic performance, become more flexible or whatever. After you become fit by following a carefully orchestrated process, you can’t just forget about your health. The decline is super-fast.
In the same way, you may assume that once you get rich, you can forget about money, start spending it like crazy and just enjoy life. That’s wrong. Money is like a lover, the moment you stop giving it the needed attention and management, it goes somewhere else.
You may just initiate a new process that isn’t so much about acquiring assets, but more about managing them. You have to pay attention to your spending habits and even more to making sure that you don’t make bad investments. And that’s a new process of learning, hard work and persistence again.
If everything starts with a goal in your mind (or a vision) and then you follow a process to get you to your goal, a new process of managing what you acquired starts immediately after you meet your goal. No matter how good you are and where you are, there is no situation where you can just enjoy life, worry-free.
The moment you stop improving, the moment you stop growing, you start declining in some way. That’s why they say that it never gets easier, you just get better.
It never gets easier
It never gets easier. You just get better. Well, to be completely honest, there are a few important details in that quote. Now, the hard road becomes easy and the easy road becomes hard with time. But that’s only true for the challenges with the same level of difficulty.
At the end of the hard road, when it already becomes an easy one, there is always a new hard road that you have to undertake. But by then, you’re already far above the average.
How hard the new road is greatly depends on your ambitions. If you know how to set limits in life, if you are satisfied with good enough, if you don’t want more and more, you can undertake the perseverance road, the road of carefully managing what you have.
Everything is hard, before it's easy.
It’s still hard work, it still takes constant improvement, but the road isn’t as hard as getting from zero to one. Beginnings are always the hardest.
But if you want to really become the best version of yourself, the hard roads never end. You can’t achieve a completely new level of success with the same mindset, actions and effort that you had before.
Becoming a millionaire or a billionaire requires quite a different mindset, actions and levels of smart work. There are many ways of earning a million and not so many of earning a billion.
It’s one type of challenge to go from not reading at all to starting to read at least one page per day, and a completely new challenge, process and level of organization to read one book per week. And a completely new level of challenge to read one book per day. And again, there’s a completely new challenge in implementing as much as possible from what you’ve learned.
Improvements (Kaizen) are endless. There is always a new hard road, a new goal, a way to improve and become better. It never gets easier. You just become better. At many different life challenges.
But constantly taking the hard road is not only hard work, it’s also a very rewarding road and a road you can enjoy very much, if you just take the time to stop and smile and enjoy the process.
Don’t get greedy and enjoy the process instead
Now, when we’re talking about the hard roads, there are two main reasons why you potentially undertake the hard road.
- The first, a healthy one, is to follow the road of constant improvement and becoming the best version of yourself and enjoying the process and life while doing that,
- and the second, an unhealthy one, is only because you’re greedy and trying to fill the emotional void by having more and more (prove yourself to others at all costs).
In the second case, you don’t enjoy the process, you just want to get to the final goal to show others how much better and superior you are.
Many times, that kind of an emotionally unhealthy approach makes you try to speed up the process with shady tactics, trampling down other people and walking on the edges of legality. That’s not healthy competition and that kind of an approach is good neither for you nor for anybody else.
Absolutely follow the path of constant improvement. Absolutely undertake the hard road that becomes easy with time and after that, find a new hard road. That’s how you will become the best version of yourself.
But do it with joy, do it in a way where you enjoy the process, do it without doing any damage to yourself or others. Do it in a fair, collaborative and loving way. It's about enjoying life and being proud of yourself, not proving yourself to others at all costs.
Celebrate life while you travel
Make sure that the process you follow towards your goal includes not only many checkpoints to see how your progress is going, but also many stop points where you decide to love life and everything it has to offer. Always celebrate the small wins on the hard road. Be proud of yourself, be proud of your progress.
Take time to breathe and relax, keep your margins high enough. Share your small victories with other people and celebrate with them. The hard road should not be a road absent of pleasures, celebrations and enjoyment in life. Work hard, play hard.
If you learn to enjoy the journey, the hard road is much more rewarding and relaxing, there are many more opportunities to celebrate and really experience everything that life has to offer.
If you have hard time enjoying the road, have a list of your past accomplishments, a gratitude list, introduce personal enjoyment rituals into your life that you don’t miss no matter what, and oh also list of things you enjoy, to constantly remind yourself to work hard, but also to stop and play and appreciate the journey.
Don’t be afraid of hard work. Be afraid of not stopping for a second and appreciating life while you work hard.
Hard road is not really the hard road. Zombie life is the hardest road.
As mentioned so many times before, never become lazy, and always find a way to go forward and to improve yourself. In reality, the road of hard work isn’t really hard. The hard road is becoming a zombie. The hardest road you can undertake in life is to only exist and not really live life.
Hard is having a thriving life on social networks, but a miserable life in the real world. Hard is living an average life without any vision, purpose and fighting for the things you want. Really hard is a life of doing a job you hate and spending time with people you don’t like. Even harder is a life where you’re drowning in debt.
Always choosing the easiest road leads to the hardest road ever – the road of a miserable life. So yes, the only miserable life is a life without any hard work, without constantly improving yourself and seeing the fruits of your hard work.
It never gets easier. But you don’t really want things to get easier. Because when things aren’t that easy, you can fight, you can improve, you can celebrate early wins and achieve new heights. But when things get too easy, you soften, you lose focus and sharpness, you start stagnating and soon drown in misery of standing still.
Love the challenges of life. Undertake them with all your zeal.