Some things in life are really easy. There are also many things in life that are difficult, but, there are definitely others that require little effort—if any.
Daydreaming, eating unhealthy foods, drinking too much wine, not working out, putting things on tomorrow's to-do list, talking about a desired life—these are all examples of pretty simple tasks to complete. And, sometimes, they are really fun. In fact, doing all of these things in one day can be some kind of wonderful.
But there is a real issue with easy things—they tend to make having a successful life really hard. Though there are a lot of really fun easy things to do, there are also some really not fun easy things you can do, too.
Giving up on a dream, blaming others for your problems, canceling your gym membership, hiding your true feelings, not calling a friend back, sleeping your days away, putting a project on hold, not saying sorry when you've hurt someone—all of these are easy to do and hard to take back. They are also a disguised kind of easy. The reward they offer is fleeting and artificial. These easier things end up making life a hell of a lot harder.
Successful people do one thing different than the unsuccessful: They do the HARD shit.
That's it. That is what makes them different. They show up to work when they don't feel like it. They go for a run when their body doesn't want to. They apologize even though it makes them uncomfortable. They study when they are tired. They WALK their TALK.
For the majority of my adult life, I have taken the easy route. It has resulted in more failures than I'd like, or care, to admit. I have been talking about my walk for years and then acting surprised when there is no ground gained, no steps to be recorded and no distance to measure. That's because the talking comes easily to me. I am so good at it that I can even make it sound like talking about my walk is a hard thing.
But, truth is, it's really not.
Admitting that I have failed more times than I have achieved things was the first hard thing I had to do in a long time.
Owning up to your shortcomings and taking complete responsibility for your choices in life is as painful as it is rewarding. It is a truth that cuts deep but it is also the only tool that can fully heal the hurt.
For so long I found myself blaming my life's setbacks (I like that candy-coated word for failure) on people or timing or situations—claiming that these were all things that were "out of my control"—when, really, I was the one to blame. It all came down to me, myself, and I.
And the reason I failed was actually quite simple:
I failed because I chose not to put in the work that was required for the results that I desired.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Be sure to pass it to me when you're done—I need to inhale deep on that one. Sure it rhymes and it kinda sounds like it could be a corny chant at a support group or a bumper sticker they are passing out at a self-help seminar but—let's be real—that shit is true.
The moment I realized that no one else—no matter what—is in control of the paths I choose to take in life was the moment I began choosing the right ones. At first they do not look appealing. These paths have roadblocks and loose gravel and sharp turns and they are ALWAYS under construction—but guess what? So am I!
I'm still learning and changing and growing. I am still working on walking my talk. And I know that choosing an easy path will never grant me the satisfaction of finding my stride.
We will get lost on the more difficult trails in life, sure, but that's all part of it!
You can't get the Black Diamond views by staying on the Bunny Hill—much less by drinking spiked hot chocolate in the lodge. Believe me—I've tried.
Getting lost is the only way you will ever learn how to be found. We are supposed to lose our way, to stumble, to fall. We may even have to retrace our steps and backtrack on a path that is littered with mistakes and regret from the past—it's OKAY.
We are going to be OKAY.
Taking this route gives us the chance to pick up the trash we left behind—to make clean what was left messy. It gives us the chance to design our own maps so that we can record landmarks and dead ends and the places where things get slippery. Life is slippery but that doesn't mean we can't find ways to march on.
Lose your way, trip over your own feet—fall on your ass if you must—but get back up! Do us all a favor and never stop walking because you never know when your path—your journey—will inspire someone else to stop talking.