I’ve decided to do easy.
I remember something my Dad always used to insist when somebody was struggling with a machine or a key and so on: it’s been designed to work. His point was that, if we found ourselves exerting too much effort with little success, there was a strong possibility that we weren’t approaching it in the right way. Of course this assumes that indeed the machine, cupboard etc. has been well-designed but, the lesson remains: human endeavour, and the products of it, are based upon making our lives easier. Warmer, cooler, less stressful, more healthy… it all boils down to improvements to the way we run our lives, to the way our bodies run, to the way our societies ‘run’.
So why do we often act in ways that are totally contradictory to this? Why do we impose difficulty on ourselves? I seriously began to question myself about this last week, incredibly inspired by an interview with Danielle LaPorte on the blog, Do What You Love. In particular, one thing she said:
“Doing what comes easily to you isn’t about shortcuts or cleverness, and it’s certainly not about making mediocrity acceptable. It’s about leverage. It’s about casting your seeds on the most fertile soil. It’s about your best chances for success.”
Writer, speaker, “strategic and intuitive business advisor” and proponent of white hot truth, Danielle got me fired up. If I wasn’t already open to synchronicity, I definitely would be after last week because, everywhere I looked, this message was reiterated. Carrying out my Artist’s Way reading, a key point was about surrendering to what comes easily to us rather than fighting against our passions in the belief that work is only noble or impressive if it’s hard. In any case, what’s easy for one person may be exceptionally difficult for another – such is the beauty of diversity. I then thought about the slow movement and how it encourages doing things at an appropriate pace and how this relates to being responsive (to ourselves and our environments). Which then led me to think about Taoism and the concept of not striving… I do believe that following our passions and doing what comes easy to us is merely falling in step with the universal flow. Once we do, the universe works with us and the opportunities are endless.
The price of the hustle
I hear too many stories of people hustling, striving to be jacks and janes of all trades. More often than not, the result is a shoddy job that devalues the work of professionals and thus comprises the industry. At the end of the day, the economy suffers … at the end of the day, everybody suffers. Imagine how much more we can achieve if we each focus on doing our part (what comes easy to us), delegate/let others do their parts, and then piece them all together? All too often it seems like our first reaction is to compete and upstage rather than to collaborate, support and celebrate mutual achievement. In yesterday’s interview with Mutsai Musa of Afro-MP3, he made a poignant observation along those lines:
“It seems an unfortunate trend that Africans don’t really back each others’ ideas from day one and are always sceptical of each others’ ventures … We just need to figure out a way to work together.”
The benefits of teamwork are immense and, in all arenas whether they be personal, professional or national. There is only so much we each can do and time is so precious. I’ve decided that, if I find myself struggling too much with something, I will have to question whether it’s worth my time and whether it can be delegated to somebody else. That time saved can be used more effectively exercising my core genius.* I’ve decided that I want my day-to-day to be slow and easy. I’m not giving up on challenges, I love them. The satisfaction that comes with triumph is priceless. But I’m appreciating that challenging and hard are two different things.
So just like Danielle, if it’s not easy, I’m not going to do it.
*In The Success Principles, Jack Canfield talks about core genius as the thing that we are expert in, that being that thing we should be spending most of our time doing and the thing that will bring the greatest results. The easy thing.