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Leadership Thought #257 – Not Everything Is Meant To Be Easy

December 6, 2011

Free Man With Hand on Temple Looking at Laptop Stock Photo

Most things worth achieving in life aren’t easy to attain.

I often think many of us are under the misconception that life is supposed to be easier than it is.  The “grass is greener” syndrome abounds and we believe that things should always be better than they are rather than counting our blessings and accepting what we have.  It’s as if we strive to live in a Hollywood movie where we are always the protagonist of the story, everything has a happy conclusion, all our material needs are easily met, all major conflicts are quickly resolved, and the perfect relationship is just around the corner. Well, this is fantasyland not reality.

Finding contentment in your life often requires hard work.  It doesn’t just happen.  Trying to make it easy will only ever get you so far.  Just look at the many examples that exist around you.  Wealthy and attractive people get divorced just as quickly as everyone else (if not more quickly).  Famous people who seem to have everything regularly spiral downward through excessive personal behavior.   Successful businesspeople who live a one-dimensional life often must deal with significant adverse consequences in their personal life.  Many highly educated and skilled professionals can’t wait to retire so they can do something different and find more joy in their life/work.  A growing number of grandparents are trying to make up for their shortcomings as parents when they were distracted by other things.   Sadly, when you look behind the facade of someone else’s life you often find a different reality than you expected.

It’s not what you don’t have in life that makes you unhappy; it’s not appreciating what you have that gets you in more trouble.  Instead of being present in the moments that make up your life and making the most of a given situation, we hope/wish things were different and focus on “what could be” rather than “what is.”  We look outside of ourselves for answers rather than looking inward for perspective, peace, and contentment.  We want to find and take the easy path when, in fact, none exists.

I’m not saying that some realities aren’t terrible or in need of meaningful change.  Just because you may have made some wrong decisions or had a run of bad luck doesn’t mean you have to simply embrace and accept the status quo.  No one should accept personal harm or abuse as their reality.  The important people in your life should make you feel good about yourself not the opposite.  However, outside of extreme circumstances, changing everything often isn’t the answer either.

Life requires diligent effort, and you get out of it what you put into it.  You need to be patient, understanding, accepting, giving, determined, dedicated, persistent, resilient, forgiving, supportive, and loving.  You need to put the needs of others on equal footing with your own.  You need to work at being happy, contented, and self-satisfied not just expect it to be part of some formula that you get right by constantly changing variables until you get the answer.  In truth, no one has it that much easier than you; they just have it different and have their own issues to work through.