I’m in the process of building up the distance I’m capable of running. I am working on a schedule where I add half a mile each week. I do each distance two or three times before stepping up another half mile.
At every stretch there is always pain. Moving the finish line further down the road is not the most welcome idea, especially in the early days. Half a mile has a much greater relative impact at two miles than at ten.
Stretching yourself beyond your current position often hurts. It’s uncomfortable; you are pushing your body and mind further than what they are used to and conditioned for.
And when we hit the pain barrier our ability to find the motivation to carry on may hinge on one simple question. A question which often gets overlooked by other more immediate concerns…
Is it worth it?
This is such a powerful question to ask and one that can summon an inner strength that you never knew you had. It helps to separate the things we spend time on that maybe we shouldn’t, from the things we ‘should’ be doing that don’t feel quite so easy.
This brings into view the questions and concerns that can get in the way: Is it easy? Is it hard?
It doesn’t matter.
What matters is how you answer the question, is it worth it?
‘You don’t need easy, you just need worth it… Easy is a myth unless of course you’re talking about how easy it is to destroy, defame, and tear down. A beautiful home can take years to design and construct, but only a few hours to burn to the ground.’ – David H Foster
Do you get distracted by the Easy Myth? Do you search for ways of avoiding the pain?
Easy vs Simple
We have a tendency to confuse the words ‘easy’ and ‘simple’. They are in fact very different. ‘Simple’ is about our UNDERSTANDING of what needs to be done to get from A to B. ‘Easy’ is about the effort it takes when we’re on the path.
Having a simple plan doesn’t mean that it will be easy to accomplish whatever the plan is helping us to achieve. It just means that we understand WHAT steps we need to take to get there.
Think about the difference between a simple goal and an easy goal. A simple goal is to run a half marathon by the 30th June. An easy goal is to walk 10 metres by the 30th June. The first one is a straight forward goal that will take some very hard work to accomplish (for me at least), the second is straight forward AND easily accomplished. It’s an easy goal.
We need worth it because it brings beautiful simplicity to our action. When we ask the question, ‘is it worth it’ and answer with a big ‘yes’ then we have a simple understanding of the importance of persevering with the task.
Long Term Value
We must see those things that are ‘worth it’ in the context of the bigger picture. When I’m running in pain it doesn’t always feel worth it because I feel like I’m about to die. But that’s the egoistic instant gratification part of my head speaking. That’s the voice that subscribes to the Easy Myth. Because that part of my mind has no concept of the bigger picture. It responds to how it’s feeling right now and nothing more.
The VALUE of our endeavours however only makes sense in the context of the big picture; our voice, our art, our purpose. The things that ARE worth it.
What worth does the choice you make today have on tomorrow? Exercise, practice, careful building, creating, discipline, learning, investing time in other people, listening, understanding. Is it worth it?