Choose Hard

Choose Hard

Many people dream of sipping Mai Thais on a tropical beach somewhere, toes in the sand, without a care in the world. The turquoise waters melodically crashing before you with a warm sun overhead. It sounds pretty perfect right?


Photo by tunnelarmr

And yet, living that day in and day out, sounds pretty miserable to me. I’d love a week or two of that somewhere, Thailand would be my choice. But stretch that over a couple months, a few years, half a lifetime, and I’m going to get downright claustrophobic. I can’t live that way. There’s something inside of me that would go bat-sh*t crazy. I believe we are not designed to live that way.

We are designed to work. To work hard. We are created to challenge ourselves, to push ourselves. Pushing ourselves to the limits of what we can do, of what we can give, of what we can create. That’s where fulfillment is.

Leisure is not living.

An element of leisure in life is very rewarding, but only in small doses. So when we choose how we want to spend our lives, choosing leisure probably will not deliver us what we are seeking.

What job do you have right now? What job are you seeking? Are you going for something cush? Few responsibilities and little challenge? Where each day is a breeze? Sure that sounds good in the short term. But long term? I think you’ll be disappointed with where that takes you.

I’ve had a few of those easy jobs, where all you do is show up. And I was utterly unfulfilled in them for more reasons than the insulting pay.

Those jobs required nothing of me.

These days, I am finding an incredible amount of joy and fulfillment in my work. Working in wilderness therapy is by far the most difficult job I’ve ever had. I sleep on the ground for a week straight. I have no communication with family or friends for more than half of my year. I am daily working with people who are often… ummm… difficult. I am responsible for keeping kids alive in an extreme environment (the desert is a brutal place!). I am responsible for a significant amount of the therapeutic environment, facilitating challenges and change.

This job constantly requires a lot of me.

And it’s the best work I’ve ever done.

And often, the most difficult weeks of work are the times I look back on with great satisfaction. I feel like I was a part of something good, where I saw the most change. Where I accomplished something.

I believe there is a direct correlation between how fulfilling work is with how challenging it is, with how much it requires of you.

It’s our instinct to choose the path of least resistance, to go the easy route in life. But I wholeheartedly believe that will not bring us the life we ultimately want. It then is our responsibility to intentionally choose otherwise. We have the choice. And we can set ourselves up for future success by going against our instinct for ease.

Choose something that requires a significant portion of who you are.

Choose hard.

Photographer, filmmaker, journalist, adventurer. I'm somewhere, maybe Flagstaff, AZ.

2 comments on this post

  1. C. Massey

    August 23, 2013

    Exceptional words my dear friend.

    • Eric Hanson

      August 23, 2013

      Thanks Clay!


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