“Pick Your “HARD”
By Stephen L Doherty
December 3rd, 2023
“Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts.” -Steve Goodier
Recently, a friend of mine posted a very compelling meme. It explores the notion that we routinely face very tough and very hard decisions, but the choices we often make are really about the timing of when the “hard” arrives. It’s a bit of a takeoff on the old Fram oil commercial jingle that went, “You can pay me now – or you can pay me later” targeting those people who might delay replacing their $8 oil filter only to see that decision revisit them later – but in the form of a $5,000 burnt up engine repair.
It’s a revisiting of the grasshopper who fiddled away and played all summer while the ants foraged and stored food – only to find himself starving and cold when winter came. Easy decisions don’t allow the avoidance of the hard consequences – they merely postpone their arrival.
Worse yet, those consequences compound over time while their impact often exceeds what they might have been had they been faced and dealt with earlier. It’s the poster child for promoting deferred satisfaction, which also compounds exponentially, but in our favor.
Virtually every hard decision we make, that favors the easy route, guarantees harder outcomes in the longer term. Few hard decisions or activities I can think of, get easier with time. What made this post so impactful to me was its alignment with my own personal life’s philosophy that goes, “With few exceptions, we are all little more than the sum total of our choices.”
We live in a world where, increasingly – the consequences of our decisions and actions are avoided – even indemnified and rewarded in many corners of our culture and society. Decide for yourself. Here is the meme my friend posted.
Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard!
Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard!
Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard!
Communication is Hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard!
Repeating old destructive patterns is hard. Forming new positive habits is hard. Choose your hard!
This list is potentially endless, but the point is always the same. Avoidance of current challenges, strife or hardship is nearly always a pretext for the compounded difficulties that emerge from delaying the inevitable.
The freedom to choose is a gift without equal – unavailable to so many around the world. To exercise it carelessly and frivolously, not only diminishes our own lives – but dishonors the gift we have that so many do without. It really is a choice between two different kinds of “hard” with temporary ease and comfort being the dividing line.
In closing, a simple bit of advice to all of us – courtesy of the Old Knight guarding the cave that housed the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. “But choose wisely, for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.” Not all bad decisions will end our lives, but who can deny that better decisions will greatly improve them.
“It Is In Your Moments of Decision … That Your Destiny Is Shaped!” –Tony Robbins