The Manifesto Of Hard (6/31) — Break It Into Simple Steps

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

Why do people avoid hard things? I think there are 2 reasons:

First, the risks seem too high.
Second, the achievement of whatever the hard thing is seems too daunting.

Given those two challenges, people avoid hardship and default to the easier path.

But the hard thing is often the better thing.

I’ve already talked about how to deal with the risks when facing hardship. But what about the second aspect—achieving the daunting hardship?

The simple solution is also the most profound (yet most people make it more complicated than it needs to be). Simply put: break the hardship down into specific parts, and keep breaking it down into you end up with the simplest steps.

I’m not a football fan but I’m inspired a football coach who coached his team to victory by turning the chaos of sport into discrete and controllable steps. What the coach’s and team’s success revealed was: You can’t control everything but you should identify what you can control and control it.

This valuable strategy works day-in and day-out, regardless of the depth or complexity of the challenge that faces us.

When you’re faced with hardship, what can you control?

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (5/31) — Embrace Calculated Risks

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

When you look at opportunities, challenges, or situations that seem hard, it’s natural to view only the costs, problems, and challenges. The problem is, the weak person and ineffective entrepreneur gets overwhelmed by those risks and can’t move forward.

But stepping up to tough challenges means accepting that there will be risks. You can’t get away from those.

The smart entrepreneur steps up anyway and embraces the risks—in a calculated way—to do the hard thing anyway.

When you face risks, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are all the possible risks?
  2. What is the likelihood of each happening?
  3. How do I turn as many of those risks as possible into advantages?
  4. How do I eliminate as many of those risks as possible?
  5. How do I prepare for any of the risks that may remain?

By asking these questions, you proactively face risks while meeting any hardship head-on.

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (4/31) — Embrace Change

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

I’m fascinated by change: it’s a constant in life yet so many people work so hard (consciously and unconsciously) to resist change under the notion that change is hard. I used to feel that way too. I thought the ultimate life was one of stasis and I was frustrated by the amount of change in my life and the losses of relationships and opportunities that resulted.

Fortunately, at some point, I realized that change is a constant in life, and it’s good. I also realized that if I could embrace change, it would help me meet new people and get new opportunities that others wouldn’t get because they were afraid of change. It’s a trade-off, for sure, but I feel like I’ve come out ahead because of it.

If you want to create a richer life of more memorable experiences and a greater variety of people and opportunities, embrace change. Discover the power and beauty of newness even when you struggle with the discomfort of unpredictability.

Want to get really practical? Go a different route to work tomorrow. Order something different at a restaurant. Spend the evening doing something you’ve never done. Go for a weekend getaway to a small town you’ve never been to before.

… Start small and introduce little opportunities for change in your life and see where it takes you.

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (3/31) — Learn

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

This is probably my favorite aspect of hardship: learning.

I’m insatiably curious and always want to learn something new. But, over the years, that learning has moved from a passion for theoretical information to practical/applicable/experiential learning. In other words, I don’t want to just read something in a book, I want to be wrestle it to the ground.

Hardship has a lot to teach us… about ourselves. I think that’s why I love it. It’s easy when things are easy but when things are hard, that’s when you learn the truth about someone—about how they think, how they act, how they react. I haven’t always liked how I’ve thought, acted, or reacted when things have been challenging so I intentionally create more challenges now, in controlled circumstances, to perfect my thought processes, actions, and reactions.

I think back to times like: when I’ve been robbed and assaulted, when I bought a house in a different country, when I was stranded in a snowstorm on a mountain road. These and other circumstances have revealed the best and worst aspects about myself and I try to reflect on them afterward to become a better person.

The most practical advice I can give you is: do something challenging then reflect on it afterward. Pick something that is possible but challenging and try it. Maybe ramp up your workout or take a huge hike this weekend that pushes what you think you can achieve. See what happens. Do you get bored? Do you give up easily? Do you push through and discover inner reserves?

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (2/31) — Don’t Prepare

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

The Manifesto Of Hard tells us that hardship is okay, and that we need to step into the storm and embrace it rather than flee from it.

And in yesterday’s post, I talked about the importance of preparing yourself against hardship to help mitigate some of the challenging effects that occur when you face hardship.

Yet in today’s post, I’m going to confound things by giving you exactly the opposite advice!

The reason is: we need to be somewhat prepared to face hardship but it is possible to prepare too much. When we’re overprepared, a couple things happen:

  • We may overprepare and thus eliminate hardship altogether, which goes against the “sharpening” benefit of it
  • We may miss current opportunities or delay current success by focusing so much on an imagined future
  • We may get caught up in “analysis paralysis” and never willingly enter hardship and challenge because we’re trying to get ready for it

I see all of these a lot, especially the third one.

The benefit of challenging hardship is to keep ourselves sharp; therefore we need to prepare somewhat for hardship but we also need to allow ourselves to be in the moment and embrace the risks and challenges as they come.

There is no secret formula for how much or how little to prepare. Just put some pieces in place and then step into that storm confidently—start that business, travel to unknown places, meet that person, try that thing, stretch yourself… leap into the unknown even if you only see a few feet in front of you.

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)