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Voluntary Difficulties - Improving The Hard Way

We all work towards making life easier and being happy. But our natural inclination toward simple and easy solutions is self-defeating. In order to find true and lasting happiness, it's necessary to voluntarily take on some difficulties.

Getting Exercise

Exercise, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle are a great example. By taking on the hardships of practicing ving tsun kung fu, your body will be stronger and healthier and your mind will be clearer and sharper. This is in stark contrast to a person who does not practice and is unfit. Sure their Tuesday and Thursday nights will be more comfortable - sitting on the couch watching TV or playing on the phone - but ultimately they will find unhappiness as a result of not taking on this voluntary difficulty.

The Truth

The truth presents many opportunities to practice voluntary difficulty. When one seeks out and accepts the truth, they can adjust (which is in itself a voluntary difficulty). By adjusting, they invest in their future and will find happiness more easily. By accepting the easy and comfortable feeling of an unpleasant truth we harm our future, and at some point will start to feel unhappy again. By being satisfied with an unpleasant truth versus an acceptable lie is to avoid the voluntary difficulty and will ultimately bring trouble.

Project Management

In the field of project management this principle showed itself often. Procrastination (which was easy) is the enemy of happiness even though it feels easier than solving problems. Solving problems and keeping life smooth follows the broken window theory which says as more windows in a neighborhood get broken, it will encourage the breaking of even more. So whenever a problem or tasks reaches your desk, go ahead and knock it back into the other person's court - don't wait and don't cut corners. By keeping problems and tasks in other people's court you will be able to accomplish more and have more free time and less stress.

The Benefits Outweigh The Costs

Happiness comes as a result of voluntarily taking on difficulties. By doing these things that are difficult, the troublesome things are prevented. The difficulties are preventative medicine. By taking them on voluntarily we allow happiness to come into existence. The difficulties are the things that make and polish a diamond. As they say "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - well voluntary difficulties are the prevention.

Try Something New

It's difficult to try something new, to be the new guy, to break out of your routine. I suggest you voluntarily tackle these difficulties. The investment is well worth it. It's the easy things that make life hard and the hard things that make life easy.

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