Everything is Too Hard For Me

I was lying on the floor with my back in pain. Claudia was trying to massage the right point but either she would get it wrong or she would dig her elbow in too much and it would hurt. OOWWW!!!

“Ok, stop,” I said. “It’s all good now.”

“No, it isn’t. I know that ‘stop’. You just don’t want me to massage you anymore.”

I turned over, “no , its ok.” My back was in excruciating pain as I turned over. “What should I write about today?” Changing the subject usually works.

My nine year old Mollie said, “why do you always write about ‘Life is so hard, blah blah blah”.

“How do you know what I write about? Do you even read my blog?”

“No, but that’s all you talk about. Blah blah blah, life is so hard blah blah.”

I got up, “you just gave me a great idea to write about. I’m going to write about what you just said.”

“No,” she said, “please don’t. Please please please! I hate when you write about me!” I thought she was about to start crying like a nine year old baby. She is nine years old.

“Ok,” I said, “I promise I won’t mention you at all.”

“And don’t even put my picture. Promise?”

“Ok,” I said, “Promise. I definitely won’t. You little punk.”

But then I wonder, are things hard all the time?

I ran down a list:

-          Health is hard. To stay healthy involves good eating, exercise, sleeping many hours, avoiding alcohol, waking up early. And still we get sick and eventually die: [See, “How to Live Forever”]

-          Money is hard. You have to work for it. You have to sometime do things you don’t want to do. You have to work hard to figure out first what your passion is and then how to make money off of it. Not every passion is as easy to make money off of.

-          Relationships are hard. I don’t want Claudia to be upset I didn’t like her massage. I need to make sure I spend time with her this weekend despite the work I have to do. {See, “How I Met Claudia”]

-          Anger is hard. Being able to dodge all the daggers sent your way and disciplining yourself to not waste time throwing daggers back. Rule of life: nobody wins in a dagger fight. [See, “the FAQ on How To Deal With Crappy People”]

-          Honesty is hard. Most people lie all day long. I can’t turn on the TV without seeing lies. I can’t look at my kids without them telling me lies. And so on. [See, “7 Things Happen To you When You Are Completely Honest’]

-          Failure is hard. We’ve already gone over how Money (or “making a living”) is hard but dealing with failure is hard also. When I failed at Vaultus I was ashamed, embarrassed, afraid to face the people whose money I lost, afraid to face my ex colleagues who thought I was incompetent and fired me from my own board, upset because I could no longer count on how much money I was going to make from the company (I made $0). And that was just one failure. I maybe had another twenty. Failure sucks. [See, “How I lost $2 million for Yasser Arafat“]

-          Kids are hard. Every day is a challenge. Yesterday, Mollie slammed a door. The day before Josie needed to know a month in advance what her Christmas present was. The day before that they were both arguing and I couldn’t figure out who was right or who was wrong? I don’t know what I’m doing with kids. By the time I put in my 10,000 hours to try and be a good parent, they will be adults and not kids anymore. [See. “Why I Wanted My First Kid to Be Aborted“]

-          Meeting new people is hard. It’s important to keep building your network of connections. A network is a collection of nodes and lines connecting the nodes. You have to make sure the nodes closest to you are all good connectors and good people. You also have to make sure the lines are strong. You do that by providing value of some sort across these nodes. This all takes time and commitment. [See, “the Nine Skills of Super Connectors”]

-          Creativity is hard. I write a post every day. I don’t post every day but I write at least 2000 words a day. Coming up with ideas are hard. I can usually pull it off.  Nevertheless, this morning I was on the floor with my back in pain and my nine year old gave me a devastating critique of my blog posts. [See, “Nine Ways to Light Your Creativity on Fire”] Which brings me to:

-          Criticism is hard. Someone wrote me the following email the other day about a talk I gave: “ Was impressed with
your creativity and perspectives, but not with your delivery and coherence.” Two things about this: A) hearing criticism is hard if it’s not constructive. He didn’t give me any examples about my ‘coherence’ and everyone else had sent me nice emails about the talk. Nevertheless, I always want to improve so I wanted examples. B) Constructive criticism is always welcome but most people don’t know how to deliver it. [See, “11 Unusual Methods to Be a Great Speaker”] Which leads me to:

-          Communication is hard. No man is an island, but we all seem to learn different forms of English and somewhere in the middle of this language soup that is spiced with emotional baggage and history, we all need to communicate ideas to each other.

-          Computers are hard. They invented this damn thing 7 decades go. How come when I plug in my headset so I can hear the Hawaiian guy singing “Somewhere over the rainbow” on YouTube I get no sound. I did everything right. Why are there buttons I still need to click to figure this out. I give up. But the headset is now covering my head for no reason.

Ahh, see, Mollie is right – there’s so many things that are hard and that are so easy to fail at that it could take a lifetime of thinking, writing, meditating, improving, crying, screaming, to overcome all of these hard things. This could be why both my sisters don’t talk to me anymore. Everything got so hard nobody wanted to speak about it. And you can’t really deal with these things one at a time every day. It would take too much time.

There’s two things TO DO to get around all of the hard things. Both techniques bring about instant Nirvana, success, and happiness. But you have to do them at the same time.

A)     LIVE LIFE LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST DAY. This gives you the gratitude and thankfulness to appreciate every moment. If you think tomorrow you won’t be around you’ll infuse each moment with optimism. Why? Because when you say something is “hard” you are comparing it with something. You are saying it’s “hard” relative to “X”. But there’s no more X. You’re dead tomorrow. But you can’t do JUST this, else you’ll stop doing anything. In reality, you have responsibilities tomorrow so….

B)     LIVE LIFE LIKE IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY. Now you don’t know any better. Everything, as the expression goes in the Zen community, “is beginner’s mind” only you have to sort of say with a Japanese accent. Try it. “Beginner’s mind!” Everything you experience becomes like a butterfly that lands in your hand and you study the intricate and unique pattern on its wings. Beautiful and original at the same time before it flies off and you watch it with wonder. Nothing you’ve ever experienced to compare it to.

Wait a second, one might say. How can you live life like it’s your first day AND live life like it’s your last day?? Take just two minutes to picture both. Try it.

It’s hard. But I’m optimistic that I can do it.

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