Do Hard Things

I’ve been thinking lately…and frankly, not a whole lot else other than sleeping as the Cold from Heck has knocked me out for a few more days.

Near the top of my thinking list has been what to do with my life. I’m leaving teaching (again – since politics won’t allow me to use my new textbook in my classes, I simply can’t afford to stay at that job) and have a few options before me. I have one programming job lined up immediately, and another I can probably pick up within a few months at most. The pay is good, the companies are good, and I may enjoy it, but…is programming what I’m meant for?

This morning I was noticing that deep urge to be great. To make life a meaningful adventure. To make a difference. I googled the topic, watched a short video, read an article, and followed a link to the book displayed above – Do Hard Things. The title alone inspires me. It makes me excited to do hard things. I ordered the book.

This mindset will pay off. Doing hard things makes life rewarding. It opens doors. It knocks down barriers. It will take me to better places in life.

I don’t want to do things just for the sake of being hard, though – they must also be meaningful. Maybe it’s hard to beat some video game, for example, but it seems like a waste of time compared to learning or creating something, or getting in great shape, or taking a good risk.

I think back to my favorite rescues and one thing most have in common is that they were hard. They were technical. They took muscle & teamwork & expertise and took all night long. In the end, they mattered. People are alive today because we climbed mountains, crawled into caves, searched lakes & canyons & swamps, rode trails, and brought them home.

I remember when I was 19 and didn’t like hard things. I hated the word “challenging.” I wanted to avoid the discomfort it invited. But then I did something hard anyway. I moved to Spain for two years to serve and LDS mission. I walked up to total strangers and said hello and spoke to them in a foreign language. I worked all day, every day, with only half a day break per week to wash clothes, write letters, and do a little sight seeing. When I came home, I discovered that I had grown to *love* the word “challenge.”

Life IS hard. That’s one of my main philosophies these days. I experience for myself and see it all around me. The best antidote is to live it anyway. Face it. Go for it! Dive right in and discover that hard isn’t all bad. At the very least, get it over with.

To tie this all together, sort of…I’ll take the programming jobs. I like doing new things. I’ll probably give them at least a few years. But I’ll keep my eyes open for good causes and will do them, too, and not let the challenges they may present stop me.

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