Do Hard Things

Published:  10/26/2023

Do hard things in life.

Spend part of your week learning to do hard things. Hard things are things that most people cannot do. Acquiring a hard to learn skill or a difficult piece of knowledge will make you sought after because rare things are typically valued. Depending on the skill or knowledge acquired, people might even pay you for your expertise. Having rare skills should increase your value to the world. Possessing rare skills will benefit you and your family.

Continuously working on (new) difficult things, will keep you growing. Growth beats stagnation and decay. Growth means a brighter future. If your growing, your life should continually expand.

Doing hard things will teach you that you can do hard things. This will make you more confident in yourself, which is important. When life gets hard, you will need to look to your past for evidence that you can overcome difficult things. The larger the challenges you have tackled in your past, the greater your courage and belief that you can surmount whatever new challenges face you. I cannot overstate the importance of this as a source of authentic self-esteem.

Finally, by doing hard things, you will develop an approach to achieving difficult things. When doing anything that is hard, there will be things you didn’t anticipate. Often the obstacles will seem like giant boulders standing in your way. Only by continually applying yourself will you learn that all obstacles eventually give way due to the steady pressure of our efforts.

Given enough time, a small stream can create a vast canyon through even the hardest of stone. I will give you a generic recipe for doing hard things below, but you won’t know what it takes until you’ve done something that once seemed impossible.

To do hard things, you need a good teacher or (more likely) several good teachers. You should start small. Break the larger goal down into small actionable steps. Find a teacher. Learn from your teacher(s). Try on your own. Seek feedback. Make corrections, and practice until you have some level of mastery.

As soon as you master one step of the larger thing, you must move on to the next step. Work on something you are bad at until you are no longer bad at it, and then move on to the next hard thing.

This approach is called deliberate practice. It entails getting a teacher or coach for feedback, setting a small goal, working on the small goal, and receiving feedback. Once a small goal is achieved, you and your teacher set the next goal (so on and so forth). The coach or teacher is vital because you need feedback to learn, and the feedback should be immediate.  

Doing hard things is not easy, but learning difficult things throughout your life will provide personal fulfillment which is an important component of a happy life.