The Pursuit of Hard.

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Life is like being at the dentist. You always think that the worst is still to come, and yet it is over already. – Otto von Bismarck

Motivational Speaker Les Brown often said, “If You Do What is Easy, Your Life Will Be Hard. But if You Do What is Hard, Your Life Will Be Easy.” Life is a rollercoaster of hardship and suffering, in which we can derive meaning by paying attention to what is happening. Whatever will eventually go wrong in life and in the least expected time. The key is not to go wrong when things eventually go wrong. Life can be challenging at times, and the winter of life can become cold when one does not have the appropriate clothing. The Scandinavians have a great saying: “There is no bad weather; we have only inappropriate clothing.” Life will get tough at some point, and we have two choices. Either to become bitter or better, let the situation lessen us or learn the lessons that the situation has come to teach us.

You can either wear appropriate clothing for the specific weather or weather the storm. Pursuing hard things or activities is hard for a reason, so most of us don’t try. As Ancient Rome stoic philosopher and statesman Seneca once said, ” It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” From my experience pursuing hard activities such as running 15 full marathons in the past two years, learning multiple foreign languages (French and Spanish) and learning to code in multiple programming languages (Python and Java), Seneca is right. Pursuing hard is a very tough and challenging venture that requires having the end in mind, persevering and relentlessness to solve the issue at hand.

The marketplace always rewards the best problem solver, and how far one goes in life is determined by the toughness of the problem you are willing and able to solve. Jeff Bezos solved the ease of commerce on the internet; Mark Zuckerberg connected the world with his social network platform, and Steve Jobs made connectivity ubiquitous and intuitive. These innovators pursued complicated tasks and built a great team to execute their vision. The marketplace rewarded them with massive wealth based on the value they created. The same goes for each of us; by solving challenging issues in life, such as becoming more self-aware and mindful, we can ultimately solve the problems outside of us.


In his book Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong, and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness, author Steve Magness argues for pursuing hard things. He remarks

Real toughness is experiencing discomfort or distress, leaning in, paying attention, and creating space to take thoughtful action. It’s maintaining a clear head to be able to make the appropriate decision. Toughness is navigating discomfort to make the best decision you can. And research shows that this model of toughness is more effective at getting results than the old one.

Real toughness is about providing the tool set to handle adversity. It’s teaching. Fake toughness creates fragility, responding out of fear, suppressing what we feel, and attempting to press onward no matter the situation or demands. Real toughness pushes us to work with our body and mind instead of against them. To face the reality of the situation and what we can do about it, to use feedback as information to guide us, to accept the emotions and thoughts that come into play, and to develop a flexible array of ways to respond to a challenge.

 Toughness is having the space to make the right choice under discomfort.


Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl argued in his thought-provoking memoir Man’s Search for Meaning that meaning can be found in suffering. Frankl survived four Nazi concentration camps, lost his mother, father and brother at the camps, and created his psychotherapeutic method, Logotherapy (meaning-centered psychotherapy). The book tries to answer this question: How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner? Frankl remarked:

When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.

“The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life.”

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation—just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer—we are challenged to change ourselves.

In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.


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All the Best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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