What is the hardest thing to do in life?
Is it overcoming an addition? Losing a loved one? What about starting your own business, especially considering that a fifth of all businesses fail within their first? Or is it the 14 years I was going to commit to becoming a neurosurgeon?
Ask ten people, and you’ll get ten answers.
When I asked that question, you went to the extremes. You probably thought of the most painful or the hardest to achieve, the thing with the highest friction, etc.
However, it’s not only the extreme events and scenarios that are difficult.
What about the everyday?
Everything is Hard
Life in itself is hard.
Nothing about life is easy.
It’s not easy to get good grades in school. Nor is it easy to decide what field to go into. If the field choice is easy, the field expertise isn’t.
I struggled for a year after my spinal surgery in 2016. But it was also a struggle to lay at home that year despite wanting to go out. I found it difficult to figure out what career path I would go down. I still struggle on a day to day battling decisions and thoughts and feelings that come to mind. I even struggled to write this article.
But there are also days I struggle to get out of bed. I can also recall times when it was difficult to heal from an event. I found it difficult when I had no money. I also find it difficult when I have a lot more money. I’d struggle to make friends, but it’s difficult to maintain them once you have them. It’s difficult to make a load of money, but then it’s another ballgame to keep it.
Difficulty, struggle and hardship are woven into life. You can’t escape it. What’s difficult and easy are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one and not the other. One thing that makes things easier or more convenient also makes other things more difficult. As one thing is made easier, another is made more difficult.
It’s equally as difficult not to be happy and suffer in your pity as it is to do something about it.
It’s equally as difficult to remain in pain as it is to go through the healing process.
It’s equally as difficult to become rich as it is to remain poor.
It’s equally as difficult to conquer your fears as it is to let them conquer you.
Difficulty and challenge aren’t exclusive to the things that happen once or infrequently. Every day can be just as challenging as the one-offs.
The point is that everything is hard; life is inherently a challenge. You can’t escape difficulty, whichever context it may be in. The world and our lives in it are shrouded in hardship.
Life Needs to Be Hard, Embrace it.
Things are supposed to be hard. We may not all face the same challenge. But we’ll all face challenges. It’s what makes you grow.
It’s not a matter of comparing and evaluating what’s more or less challenging. Either option won’t be easy. You have to ask yourself: “What is more rewarding?”. The only difference is what we choose our ‘hard’ to be – and the right one. So you might as well choose the option with the best return.
Imagine going through the trenches, battling with X, fighting against Y, and questioning Z to receive nothing. Then you went through all that for what?
If you’re going to struggle for something, the least you can do is make it worth it.
What you need to do is evaluate what choices you’re making. What challenges are you choosing to embark on for what rewards?
Choose the proper challenge, but don’t accept the wrong ‘hard thing’. It’s all a choice.
Whatever you do, it’s going to be difficult. All I ask of you (and what you should ask yourself) is to choose the right challenges.
What is the hardest thing to do in life?
We’re back to our original question.
Here’s my answer:
In my opinion, the hardest thing to do in life is to live life without any reward. The most painful, the most difficult, whatever you want to call it, is a meaningless struggle.
The hardest thing to do is to look back and realise that the challenges you faced haven’t made you better or stronger. Better financially or better socially. Better for yourself or everyone else. A better friend or a better parent.
Ultimately, you’ll ask yourself: “What was the point?”
You owe it to yourself to choose the challenges and difficulties that make this life journey the most worth it.