Easy is expensive

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
5 minutes

Easy is expensive.

Choosing the path of least resistance is easy and comfortable in the present moment. But setting a low bar, or deferring things can have costly consequences.

Doing the easy thing or taking the easy path is kicking the can down the road. Sooner or later, the reckoning will arrive. The bills come due and must be paid. Fate says pay me now or pay me later.

Avoiding uncomfortable conversations builds resentment and animosity. Avoiding exercise and diet creates illness. Sticking your head in the sand makes you vulnerable. It’s the innovator’s dilemma.

Hard choices, easy life.

Easy choices, hard life.

Hercules had to perform twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible.

For Hercules, the choice was between vice and virtue, the easy way and the hard way, the well-trod path and the road less traveled.

Life will be difficult if you follow the easy path. Your life will be easy if you address and accomplish the difficult things.

I have been there. I thought I’d solved problems when really I was creating new ones by taking the path of least resistance. Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm turned this type of routine into comic gold.

Strangely, trying to make things easier only makes it tougher.

Easy comes at a price.

Each one of us must endure the sorrow of regret or the pain of discipline. Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons.

Success can only be attained by persistent sacrifice; there are no certain shortcuts. There is no royal road to achievement.

Being successful is a decision, not an accident!

While exercising might be challenging, not moving makes life more difficult. Conversely, avoiding every confrontation is more difficult than having uncomfortable dialogues. It takes work to master your profession, but having no talents is more difficult.

We are prevented from achieving our goals not by impediments but by a convenient road to a diminished destination.

Don’t fear failure. The offense is low aim. Even failure in big endeavors is rewarding.

Whenever things get complicated, look for a solution, not an off-ramp. The obstacles are the path to higher achievement.

The more you deal with challenges and issues, the better your life gets. Conversely, the more you ignore these challenges, the worse they get.

Your life is either a challenge or a celebration every moment.

The hard way is rarely harder in terms of daily effort, but it is often harder psychologically.

It requires:

- thinking long-term

- removing limiting beliefs

- avoiding the lure of status and approval

- trusting that small things will lead to big things

It’s a mental battle.

You can only progress by consistently working on yourself instead of through chance or coincidence.

Every moment of one’s existence, one is growing into more or retreating into less.” ―Norman Mailer

Moment by moment, we choose and sculpt how our ever-changing minds will work. We choose who we will be in the next moment in an authentic sense.

Do whatever it takes to adapt. The one who survives is not the strongest but the most adaptable.

Become a master of probability, not luck.

Probability is a positional thing. You don’t get lucky. You get in position.

Experiment. Try things and measure the results.

If your odds of success are over 50%, then it makes sense to run your experiments for as long as possible because you will inevitably win. So, keep the costs of your experiments low and let time and probability work their mojo in your favor.

Whether one expresses it or not, each thought a person dwells upon either damage or improves their life. Where the head goes, the body follows.

Your conscious and unconscious decisions have an overall impact on how your life turns out. You can take charge of every part of your life if you control the decision-making process. In addition, you will taste the freedom that results from having control over your life.

You’re designed to pursue continuous improvement and endless refinement-micro-habits, systems, lifelong learning, and consistency.

In with the good, out with the bad.

As James Clear writes brilliantly,

“With our bad habits, the immediate outcome usually feels good, but the ultimate outcome feels bad. With good habits, it is the reverse: the immediate outcome is unenjoyable, but the ultimate outcome feels good.”

You don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be joyful when you fall in love with the process rather than the final product. Anytime your system is operating, you will feel satisfied.

Which areas of my life are in maintenance mode? Which areas are in growth mode?

If I keep doing what I am about to do today for the next five years, will I end up with more of what I want or less of what I want?

Your present trajectory should be far more critical to you than your current standing.

Don’t evaluate each day by the crop you harvest but by the seeds you sow.

You become who you are tomorrow, and the day after that based on every choice you make today, including what you eat and how you spend your time tonight. So, the question boils down to a version of, “Salad or Fries?”

Your every act is a vote for the person you want to be. Your ideas won’t change due to one event, but as the votes accumulate, like flake on flake in a snowfall, so do the signs of your new identity.

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it — but all that had gone before” — James Clear

To be happy with yourself in the present moment while maintaining a dream of your future is an excellent recipe for manifestation. When you feel so whole that you no longer care whether “it” will happen, that’s when amazing things materialize before your eyes.

Future success is based on something other than a major leap. Tiny moves made today, tomorrow, and the next day will lead to success. Don’t slack. Do the uncomfortable thing. Eat that frog.

Goals help provide direction, but the best method for advancing is systems.

Every habit starts with a little, one-time choice. But when you keep making that choice, a practice forms and intensifies. The entrenchment of roots accompanies branch growth. It takes a lot of strength to stop a harmful habit. Likewise, developing excellent habits is like growing a delicate flower one day at a time.

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. — Mark Twain

There are things we can do to steer the future onto a better course. We can increase the chance of a beautiful future by improving the values that guide our journey.

You will undoubtedly arrive in ten years. Where, is the question?

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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