There is an expression which alludes to the fact you need to struggle to truly appreciate your accomplishments. I don’t agree with this type of thinking, but I have encountered numerous people in my life who think this way. I’m not suggesting that you don’t have to put in lots of work and effort towards reaching an accomplishment, as you typically do. However, I’m curious about why some people think of achievement in a negative manner.
From my perspective, working towards an achievement can be highly motivating, and going through the process of reaching your end goal can be something you can look back on with pride. Yes, even if you required help from others to reach your accomplishment. In fact, for me personally, some of my greatest moments of pride and achievement are associated with the collaborative work with others. There is something about working together towards a common goal which I find very rewarding. Perhaps you have experienced this too?
During a conversation I was having with a person I highly value having in my life, I was surprised by a comment they made. So much so, that it prompted me to share this conversation with you, as I would like you to have a similar outcome they did. This is versus the outcome they were heading towards, and which was going to put them in a negative loop and essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy of not being able to succeed at what they were attempting to do. Even though verbally they appeared to be completely committed to doing so.
The goal for this person was to set aside time each day to work on a professional development project. One which required studying and mastering a new software program language, and that would take lots of focus and dedication to complete. As this person was telling me about their plan in terms of how they were going to go about accomplishing their goal, I was immediately struck by how difficult their plan sounded. Although I also attempted to keep an open mind to consider they perhaps thought their plan was appealing. Or so I thought.
When I followed up with this person several days into their “plan”, it was obvious it wasn’t working, as they had not even started working on it. Were they just telling me something they thought I wanted to hear? Or did they really believe they were going to begin and commit to their plan? A plan that if they followed it through would put them in an entirely different place professionally, and which would open many new possible and intriguing options for them. Yes, procrastination was at the core of why this person wasn’t proceeding with their plan, but it also had to do with the fact they were attempting to do something the hard way. Without realizing there were alternative options for proceeding forward which would have been more appealing.
Procrastination is a state most of us have experienced at one point in time or another, and some people seem to be more challenged by this progression hinderance than others. Many times, when you ask someone to explain why they procrastinate, they don’t have any solid or rational reasons why they do. This contributes to further complicating their ability to move forward, because they go into a state which I’m certain you have either experienced, or seen someone else in. It’s the experience of being “stuck”. It may appear to anyone not in this scenario that the person is being unreasonable, or perhaps even lazy with behaving this way, but people who are experiencing this legitimately feel this way. A way which contributes to making it more difficult to proceed, versus the process of beginning to do something, and then completing it.
Even the most accomplished people at some points have experienced procrastination, or an aspect of doing something when they were working towards an accomplishment and thought to themselves, “There must be an easier way to do this.” If you or someone you know who a leader, sports coach or any other achievement-oriented category, and who is doing things the hard way, below are some options to think about to help you or them to find more ways to strive towards accomplishment with greater ease.
- Have you ever considered the real reason you do things from other people’s perception the hard way?
- Do you go through cycles of procrastination, and if you do, is there a driving force contributing to this cycle, and if so, a way for you to break this cycle? Perhaps with the support of someone you trust who will help to keep you accountable?
- Think about one of your biggest accomplishments. What were the contributing elements which allowed you to proceed forward, seemingly without any struggle?
- Who do you know that appears to accomplish anything with ease? Would it be possible to ask them for advice on how they do this?
- Not everyone is wired the same way in terms of achievement levels they desire to reach. What level on a scale of (1-10), with 10 being the highest level are you comfortable with maintaining?
- If your achievement level is lower than you would like it to be, are you willing to put in more effort, without the effort being overwhelming to reach a higher level of accomplishment, and doing so in a manner which is realistic and will offer you enough of a reward at the end to remain motivated towards a successful completion?
Appreciating the fact that there are going to be people who think that you need to struggle and do things the hard way for it to be worth it, I encourage you to consider thinking about why you, or others need to orient themselves this way? If you had to rationally explain your reasons behind your thinking, could you do so objectively? I hope you will be willing to think of an alternative way of accomplishment, and enjoying the process being much less frustrating, easier and which will encourage you to do more for yourself, or others with your new approach.
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