When Work is Difficult

If you look at something new and think immediately, “Oh, that’s going to be hard!” you have stopped yourself even before you have begun. Most new things aren’t harder than any other things: they’re just new. There are hard things: learning how to be kind to people you don’t like, doing things well under pressure, being patient when it’s the last thing you want to do and missing a dear friend that has died. These things are truly hard. Work? Well, the more you do it the easier it gets. The less you do it the harder it gets. 

This seems strange, but it’s really so: when you do a job, you not only get stronger if you do the whole thing, and do it well, the next time you do it you can get into the dance of working: you remember what you did before and naturally, automatically, find more efficient ways of doing things. This happens without your having to think about it, because your body likes balance: work this hard and then rest. Use the strength you got from the last time to work and then rest when you are done.

However, if you don’t do something “Because it’s too hard!” or because you would rather do something too easy, then the next time you need to do the job, you have to carry the laziness of the time before. Really! You didn’t gain any strength, efficiency, courage or feeling of accomplishment when you sloughed off and didn’t do what you needed to do or intended to do, so you made yourself a little weaker. So the next time you tried to work, you have added that weakness.

And it’s the same with the next time, and the next, and the next. Pretty soon you are carrying such a load of weakness that you can hardly move! Better to work, get it over with, and get the benefits of working: a little more strength, efficiency, courage and feeling of accomplishment.

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