Do the Hard Things to Create Motivation
Core - Edition Nº22
“Most men live lives of quiet desperation, and go to their graves with the song still in them.”
— Henry David Thoreau
“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship,” Denzel Washington once famously said. “Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.”
It’s like a 100-pound truth that pounds you over the head if you attempt to ignore it. I know it first-hand. I spent a long time deliberating whether to continue writing for this journal. I changed my mind, countless times. I left it. Got super motivated, only to say I didn’t feel like it minutes later.
But Denzel’s message had hit me lately. And what I learned to admit is simple but important: comfort gets you nowhere. Adversity inspires meaningful change. Even if it’s coming from inside yourself.
Life today is more comfortable than any other time. Food is delivered to our doorstep in under 15 minutes. Unlimited information is accessible through a few taps. We can read from the greatest minds that ever lived without going anywhere. And we work from home, in our pyjamas.
But what does this comfort give us?
Political and cultural strife, tainted families, friendships and nations. A broadly overweight population. Generations of spoiled, entitled brats. Many “real” problems have been solved, and then we manufacture new ones to take their place.
I loved to play life safe. My past used to look like this: I’d get a “normal” job and earn a decent living, find someone, get married, have kids and follow through life the conventional way.
The cost of this? Ambition, confidence, happiness, honesty. It’s a steeper price to pay than you first see through the shop window.
Life keeps people comfortably numb. It breeds conformity. Obedience. Contempt. A willingness to stay in place in a system to keep it healthy and strong—at the expense of yourself. Or rather, your self.
It adds up to a pretty uninspired life.
My remedy, the remedy, was rejecting comfort and welcoming the harder work. Few things are as energising for your body and soul as stepping away from your comfort zone. Try to remember the last hard thing you did. Something that challenged you. Giving a speech to a crowd. Saying no when you’d usually say yes. Entering your first competition. Asking that cute girl for her phone number.
Your heart pounds in the moment. Anticipation grows as the end result draws near. Eyes widen as your body starts to overheat. Your hands and body flutter in a crescendo.
Nothing else seems to exist.
But the result doesn’t matter.
What’s important is you did it.
Because of that, you abandoned what you thought was natural and let yourself be vulnerable. This is how you gain strength. It’s an easy way to feel like you are worth much more—because you focused on the action, not the outcome. You realised what’s more important.
The next time you find yourself struggling or feeling like your life is lacking, do the hard stuff. And I mean hard, not slightly harder than before. Something that pumps you and gets your mind racing. Something that forces you to focus on breathing deeper, talking slower, and getting a grip.
A little bit of stress is good. And when you’ve done the hard thing and opened yourself up to the world, you’ll find the sun looks a little brighter today than it was yesterday.