Do you remember when you were a kid and the best way to play on a slide was to climb up the slide itself, then turn around and go back down? I used to love that. Once I could make it up the slide, I never went back to the stairs. They were easier, but the other way was more fun because it was more challenging. It was an adventure. As a kid, I lived for adventure.
As an adult, I have an aversion to adventure. I still love it. I just don’t pursue it. Partly because it’s hard.
I’m not sure when I stopped choosing the hard way. Perhaps it was as a teenager when getting out of bed was the hardest thing in the world. Perhaps it was in college when everything seemed hard; perhaps I got overwhelmed and shied away after that. Perhaps it was getting a real job with a solid schedule and I had to adapt my life to accommodate that rigidity.
Whatever the reason, I tend to take the easy way out. Even when I know the harder path might be better for me in the long run. I may be rife with benefits, but being hard, it loses its appeal.
Doing things the hard way isn’t always the best way though. Programming a report to run automatically at work which allows me to focus my energy on other things is good. It’s easier and better.
Other things are easier but neutral. Taking an elevator for example. At work I used to take the elevator all the time. It just took much less effort than climbing the stairs to the 6th floor. (Suddenly the stairs are the hard way instead of the easy way like the slide when I was a kid.) I started taking the stairs to go down, because it was quicker. I could be in my car and on the way home faster by skipping the elevator. Slightly harder but much better. Recently, I decided to start taking the stairs up. I’m on week 3 of this, all stairs, no elevator. It’s much harder, but I am feeling more fit because of it. And I get to avoid the claustrophobia of a crowded elevator.
It’s not fun, like running up the slide as a kid, but choosing to bypass the elevator is a good thing. The hard way can be good. Maybe someday I will find a hard way that is beneficial and fun. I think I might have to become a kid again to do that.