Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

If it is important, it will be hard

If it is important, it will also be hard. There are no easy important projects. Otherwise, you would have completed them already. Perhaps this is self-evident. But it is easy to forget. If you want to do something important, prepare for the challenge.

Copyright Susanica Tam (Creative Commons)

You want to write a book? It will be hard.

Last year I wrote and published a book. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life—including moving to another country. Throughout the process I was plagued with self-doubt and at times I felt a soul-crushing weight on my chest. It was hard. I endured constructive and destructive criticism. I sat in front of my computer for hours typing line after line—most of which I knew I would delete the following day. Writing a book is hard. I have the grey hairs to prove it.

You want to get into shape? It will be hard.

We all want to be healthy. But who wants to wake up at 6am to go running before work? Who wants to change their eating habits? Who wants to sweat through a grueling workout? Who wants to consistently sacrifice the time it takes to get in shape? Staying healthy is hard.

You want to raise mature, stable children? It will be hard.

Raising kids is the most important and most challenging project a parent faces. Children are not like a book that you can simply “grind out” word by word. They are not like exercise that you can simply schedule and endure. They are complex little people with a confusing amalgam of their own desires, questions, and issues. Whenever you think you finally understand your children, they change. Whenever you think they have finally learned a lesson, they relapse. Raising children is hard.

You want to make a difference? It will be hard.

Many of us dream of starting something that will bring change to the world. But change doesn’t apparate from a simple blog post, tweet, or book. It takes dedicated, persistent, consistent effort. “A long obedience in the same direction.” Don’t expect to start a movement of change without putting something you care about on the line, getting some skin in the game, and sacrificing something dear to you. Making a difference is hard.

So, why do hard things?

We do hard things because they are important. The world does not need more people on the easy path. We need courageous people willing to face hardship in order to bring goodness, truth and beauty into existence. We need people of character willing to fight the forces of entropy and stagnation. We need people willing to do what is important even if it is hard. Because change comes only through the courageous.

When you have overcome the obstacles and kicked down walls, when you have faced your demons and slayed the dragon, then you will truly know why you do hard things. It is the only way to truly live.

What about you? What is important to you? What do you dream of doing? What hardships stand in the way? Leave a comment below.




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