I know this sounds like an odd title. It’s really about asking yourself which one you are. ‘Easy-hard’ or ‘hard-easy’. People fall into one or the other. There is no right or wrong in it. Like all things, there is always a consequence of your choice. The reasons behind why you chose one over the other often have a lot to do with early childhood.
So what is easy-hard and hard-easy?
As you think about the people around you, I would like you to notice them closely. When you have dealings with them, do they instantly go for the easiest, cheapest, quickest or most convenient solution? This is, of course, the ‘easy at first’ solution that frequently leads to a hard consequence.
When you look around, do you find people in your life that make the hard decisions and do the hard yards first? These people save money and then buy the best that they can afford. They build great foundations and then build upon them. These, of course, are the ‘hard-easy’.
Much of our society is very much into promoting the ‘easy-hard’ approach. Politicians, banks and companies all prey on the ‘easy-hard’ personalities. Banks will say “here, have a credit card, you can have it now”, but in the small print, you realise the interest rate is 18%. They are counting on you to take out another credit card to pay the interest on the first card. This, of course, is ‘the hard’. Companies produce cheaper and cheaper goods. The ‘easy-hard’ person buys them and then the moment it is out of warranty it cannot be repaired only replaced. In this way, your product becomes a perpetual expense.
The ‘easy-hard’ also plays out in relationships, bending the rules and taking the easy way out in the form of lying and untruths. Drug and alcohol sales depend on the ‘easy-hard’ personality. I have pain or difficulty, drugs and alcohol make it go away in the short term only to wake up the next day with a new issue and the issue you avoided yesterday.
I frequently find this ‘easy-hard’ approach being used in companies in multiple departments. It, of course, is very short-sighted and costly in the long run. There is currently a slow change in this business arena. Within the sales departments, people are trained in the basics and then sent out expected to reach targets, having no real foundations they fail to do so and eventually leave. In many companies, 90% of all the sales are produced by as little as 10% of the personnel. What would happen if more resources were spent on bringing the majority of the staff up to speed?
‘Hard-easy’ people spend the time practising the basics over and over till it becomes second nature. When it comes time to perform, it is done with ease. It may appear to be slow to start, but in the long run, it always works out easier. The skills that are acquired in the beginning may never be directly used. However, the disciplines developed at this stage will be used continually.
Allison has an Honours degree in Science Psychology, and this is a far cry from her career today. I have my original training in martial arts and Chinese medicine. This too is far from what I did today. However, I am eternally grateful to the time, pain and sweat of then that now lets me live my life today. This is because I chose to make ‘hard’ pleasurable and ‘easy’ painful. At the age of 16 I spent about a week of my life or about 30 hours of training myself in memory techniques, it is a skill that has helped me in every step since. I believe the investment in my NLP training was essential to my long term happiness. I sold all my possessions and moved to England to study ‘hard’ so I could enjoy this career, ‘easy’.I frequently use this process in weight control, money issues and relationship issues.
Relationships blossom under the ‘hard-easy’ method. Telling your partner the truth up front means you take the hit once rather than living a life of fear waiting for them to eventually discover the truth. You start to be yourself rather than the mask you create.
I know in my family I am the odd one out. You may discover this as well. If you are easy-hard in a hard-easy family, you will be the black sheep. If you are the ‘hard-easy’ in an ‘easy-hard’ family, you will also be thought of as the black sheep or at best just crazy.
How do you develop the ‘hard-easy’? You make a commitment and then just do it. In the rain, in the sunshine, when it is easy, and especially when it is hard, especially when it is inconvenient, the ‘easy’ people have all gone home or to the pub.
I have found this bit to be truly amusing, often you don’t have to be great at a thing or even extraordinarily gifted or talented to succeed, all that may be required is ‘hard-easy’, by doing so you just simply outlasted the crowd.
I know a man who went into a competition to win a car. All he had to do was suck on a baby dummy that was attached to the bumper of the car. He had made up his mind that the car was his. He calculated that the majority of the people would last up to 48 hours. His conclusion was that the competition would really start in the 49th hour. It ended up going for four days in total. Oh, he ended up with the car. Needless to say in his mind he was on day two, and the competitors were on day four. This man is not the smartest or the strongest. In this situation, he was, however ‘hard-easy’. As a result, he drove away in a brand new sports car.
Remember that it is time, heat and pressure that makes diamonds. Being ordinary is easy, becoming a master takes the path of the hard which of course leads to the easy.
‘Easy-Hard’ is an interesting way to live a life. People that get caught up in an easy way out end up consuming the resources of the citizens about them. It is because when things start to go from the easy to the hard, kindhearted individuals frequently give up the hard earned money or their precious time to help dig others out of the hole they created for themselves, by taking the easy way in the first place.
How do we get better at doing the hard things so that life has the potential of becoming easy? My challenge to you is to tell the truth to no one else but yourself.
Pick a habit that you would like to create. My suggestion is to make it small. This could be as simple as ‘I am going to write in a journal every night all of the good things that have happened to me today’. This becomes the promise you make to yourself. It could be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning and going for a walk or doing push-ups.
Once you make the promise, it is to be kept. If you slip, then you start again, and you keep on starting until it becomes you. You will have done the hard that leads to the easy. Remember the first one is the most challenging. If on the first day you can do two and the next you can do three, with each passing day the extra one becomes significantly easier to do.
The only thing to remember is that it must be done to be true to you. No excuses, no listening to the internal chatter that tries to talk you out of it. Accept that it is hard, uncomfortable, not what you are used to, even inconvenient in the beginning, it always is. Embrace this and do it anyway.
The ‘easy-hard’ people around you will also do their best to talk you out of it – ignore them. You are becoming truthful to yourself. You are doing something incredibly scary. You are changing.
‘Easy-hard’ is a process, and a stage, as is to ‘hard-easy’. What I am saying is there are four levels but only two processes.
The four stages of development and the formula for understanding, fulfilment and happiness are a natural progression from the knowledge of the way things work.
- Easy-Hard leads to Hard-Hard
- Hard-Easy leads to Easy-Easy.
- By participating in Easy-Hard, it eventually leads to Hard-Hard.
- By participating in Hard-Easy, it eventually leads to Easy-Easy.
I’m glad that that section is out of the way. Just one too many ‘Easy-Hards’.
If a person decides to live a life of always taking quick fix options it will inevitably lead to greater and greater issues.
If we take the example of the sale of drugs to get an income, that then leads to prison time. In a recent documentary from the United States, it presented the financials of street dealers. What was discovered was financially they were no better off than an employee of McDonald’s.
I know someone who had an easy-hard approach to life and then taught it to their child. The result was a life of drugs for the child and the premature death of his friends through overdose and violence. Everyone surrounding the first person just suffered. It was always interesting to note that the finger of blame for the situation always seemed to be pointed at someone else.
Avoiding what you know to right always leads to issues. Eating too many sweets and cakes today leads to obesity tomorrow. Spending without consideration today leads to poverty tomorrow. Partying today instead of preparing for the exam has its consequences. Drinking or taking drugs to escape a feeling just means the feeling will be back tomorrow.
In business, this is also very prevalent, by delaying vital decisions the most precious commodity on the planet is lost, time. With the time saved even if you make a mistake you will have the most valuable of resources to fix the situation.
By acting and doing the uncomfortable now, by making the hard decision or even the unpopular decision, in the long run, it works out. Remember the unpopular decision is the decision that everyone knows to be correct but doesn’t feel like doing. This is often because it is ‘hard-easy’ and most people are short-sighted.
Does this mean that if I always do ‘hard-easy’ it will always work out perfectly? No, it definitely does not. What it describes is ‘easy-hard’ will always end in tears. ‘Hard-easy’ has the option of ending well. It has the ability to develop the mental and physical strength to have the foundations to build upon.
Does this mean that they live a life constantly looking to the future? No. It is a game of balance. The more we balance, the easier life becomes.