You’ve heard the stories.
“So-and-so put her head down, worked hard, and climbed her way up the corporate ladder.”
“That other gal used to be obese, but through discipline and determination she managed to shed all those pounds and got her dream body.”
“Hard work and hustle will lead you where you want to go,” they tell you.
(I can’t actually pin-point who “they” are, but I know you’ve heard “them” say it!)
But what if that’s only part of the story?
What if struggling to achieve your goals actually only leads to more frustration, disappointment, and stress?
I’d like to argue that it does.
And that there’s a better way.
Here’s what all those stories fail to tell you:
There’s a huge difference between challenge and struggle.
Challenges are exciting.
They hold the potential for expansion. When you face a challenge you feel more alive, excited, and your body buzzes with the anticipation of accomplishment.
Struggle might look similar to challenge on the surface, but in reality it’s another beast entirely.
Struggle drags you down.
It exhausts you.
It makes you feel like you’re fighting just to survive.
When you are struggling, your body is in a constant state of stress.
This leads to a sluggish metabolism, mood swings, insomnia, and a boat-load of tension you’d rather not have in your port.
So if you’ve got something you’re working toward, it might be tempting to set lofty goals.
You might be enticed by the promise of strict plans.
And you might think you’ll be able to stick your fingers in your ears and loudly sing “LALALALALAAAA” as you ignore the way you feel until you’ve achieved what you want to achieve.
But more often than not, that’s exactly the attitude that’s going to prevent your dreams from coming true.
Sure, there are plenty of people who work hard to get what they want in life.
But there are thousands of examples of people who are still unhappy despite the fact that they got what they had said they wanted.
So what gives?
Well, if you want to be happy once you get whatever it is that you are trying to get, you’ve got to find a way to stop struggling before you get there.
Maybe that means shifting your attention away from your goals for a while.
Spend more time with your kids, or friends, or cats.
Go for walks.
Take a nap.
Do whatever it is you have to do to start feeling good, at peace, enlivened, and enthusiastic before you take action.
And then- and this is the real secret sauce to success- only take action that you enjoy.
Otherwise you’ll just be fighting an uphill battle, and eventually gravity will pull you back down.
Challenges are something you enjoy on some level, even if they’re hard.
Struggle, on the other hand, never feels good.
So long as you’re struggling, you’ll never get to where you want to be.
Instead, spend most of your time finding the the challenges that spark your curiosity and spirit.
When you do, success will come easily.
You’ll feel better along the way, and you’ll be happier once you’ve reached your goals.
And what could be better than that?
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What are you struggling with right now?
Leave a comment and let me know, because who knows? We might just be able to turn your struggles into challenges.