Embracing the Suck: A Path to an Easier Life

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
4 min read

Avoiding challenges in life is like trying to toast bread with a flashlight. It’s a bright idea, but it won’t get you far.

In a world of sheep constantly seeking convenience and comfort (95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators), there exists a paradoxical truth: making hard choices leads to an easier life. In contrast, easy choices often lead to inevitable hardship.

This principle, based on hard-earned experience and resonating through various quotes and philosophies, reveals a fundamental aspect of growth and success.

The Value of Difficult Choices

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” This straightforward statement encapsulates profound wisdom. The willingness to confront challenges and make tough decisions can pave the way to a more fulfilling and less problematic life.

Facing hard choices is a continuous struggle. Meeting life’s hard choices is like arm-wrestling an octopus. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, another challenge pops up.

The avoidance of difficulty, though immediately tempting, can long-term lead to a life filled with unmet potential and unresolved problems.

We are kept from our highest goals, not by obstacles, but by smooth, well-trodden paths to lesser goals.

What you do now and every second feeds your destiny. Small things matter when they accumulate.

The Illusion of the Easy Path

Choosing the easy way in life is like using a chocolate teapot. It might look sweet, but it will melt into a mess at the first sign of heat.

The belief that life should be easy is a trap. It often leads to a search for shortcuts and avoidance of challenges.

However, as Jerry Seinfeld wisely pointed out, “If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way. The right way is the hard way.”

Use difficulty as a compass.

Growth and achievement come from facing and overcoming difficulties, not avoiding them. As Ryan Holiday says, the obstacle is the way.

The Psychology of Choice and Risk

There is a human tendency to overvalue certain but lesser gains and be risk averse.

This behavior, though seemingly safe, often leads to missed opportunities for more tremendous success. On the other hand, embracing risks and challenges can lead to substantial growth and achievement.

Ignoring problems and hoping they’ll go away is like bathing your goldfish. It’s a lot of effort for something that makes absolutely no sense.

As James Clear points out, good habits often have a reverse payoff: initially unenjoyable but ultimately rewarding.

Discipline Versus Regret

The choice between discipline and regret is a recurring theme in life.

Discipline, though often demanding in the short term, leads to long-term benefits and fulfillment. In contrast, the avoidance of discipline, while immediately gratifying, culminates in regret — a much heavier burden to bear.

You don’t want to meet, on your deathbed, the person you could have been.

The Necessity of Challenges

Life’s challenges are not just obstacles but opportunities for growth. The more we engage with these challenges, the better equipped we become to handle life’s complexities. Ignoring these challenges exacerbates them, leading to a harder life.

Don’t pussyfoot around. Run towards the challenges.

Adaptability: The Key to Survival

In a constantly changing world, adaptability is crucial for success and survival. It’s not always the strongest who thrive but those most responsive to change.

This adaptability involves a mental battle of thinking long-term, removing limiting beliefs, and trusting that small steps lead to significant progress.

Mastering Probability Over Luck

Relying solely on luck for success is like expecting a cat to fetch your morning newspaper. It might happen once in a blue moon, but don’t bet your bacon on it.

The concept of mastering probability instead of relying on luck is a powerful one. It implies that success is not a random occurrence but the result of deliberate actions and decisions.

By increasing the odds of success through informed choices and building support infrastructure, one can significantly enhance their chances of success.

Increase your luck surface by playing the odds and taking positions with high expected value.

A Life of Conscious Mindful Choices

Ultimately, life is a sum of our choices, both conscious and unconscious. By taking control of these choices, we can steer our lives in the direction we desire.

The journey toward success and fulfillment is not found in the pursuit of ease and comfort but in embracing challenges and the discipline to make hard choices.

This path, though arduous, leads to a life of true ease and accomplishment, a testament to the paradox that in embracing difficulty, we find our greatest ease.

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

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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