Day 192 – The Answer is Probably Struggle

If you’re questioning how to achieve a great task, the answer is probably: struggle.

Consider this conversation between a plucky young upstart to the art of HOLE DIGGING. He encounters a learned professor; an expert of theory and research involving holes and shovels. Having not started yet, and being in the presence of such profound academic intellect, he asks the eternal question that all diggers must ask.

Wide-Eyes Novice: How do I dig this hole?

Official Expert of Hole Digging: First and foremost, lad, you must select the appropriate shoveling device. Handle wood grain, metallic composition of shovel head, length, and convexity of shovel lip all impact shovel dynamics – inappropriate shovel choice can slow shovelling progress and increase the chance of dirt falling on your shoulders. Next you need to research proper shoveling technique from recognized shovel masters to maximize shovelification and dirt-to-shovel factor. Bear in mind, understanding some of the more complex elements of Shovel-Theory involve and intersect with Advanced Dirt Physics, which you must also learn as an intellectual baseline. Studies have shown poor shovel posture can reduce dirt expungement by as high as 14%! Some of the top shovelling authors you should begin with are…

You see the problem here? All of this is important (kinda), but not nearly AS important as spooning out the dirt. Research and preparation can feel like a heroic montage, but none of that involves putting in the slow, tedious, boring, difficult, painful, frustrating, and unglamorous task of actually moving dirt with a shovel. This is the struggle; accepting struggle as the linchpin to success is the core of achievement.

“How do I learn a new language?”
“How do I get fit?”
“How do I save money?”

All these question have discrete, complex systems of action, sources of information to research. Hierarchies of technique from people who’ve done it before. A degree of shortcuts, yes. But if you follow that trail of erudite breadcrumbs, believing you can prepare-away or our-plan struggle, you will be forever stuck in the pre-game. Wasting more time than you would have saved. Cautiously gathering as much useless factoids as you can to prevent the pain of the path.

So how do you struggle?

The crucial element with struggle, I’ve found, is that you must struggle FOR something, not AGAINST something.

Struggle is a friction between yes and no. It can only ever happen in the present moment. It puts something into focus. When you struggle against a force (your pain, your boredom, sudden setbacks or unexpected boundaries) it becomes your enemy. You are in the realm of the negative, doing battle with yourself. Fighting something within you, trying to kill it forever.

“I’m struggling against my pain. This hurts and that’s bad. I’m going to kill my pain forever.”

When you struggle FOR something, it becomes your task. You are conquring, overcoming, not battling. You are reconciling the denying factor in yourself, and keeping your vision in mind.

“Yes, it hurts, but that’s ok. I’m bearing this pain with fortitude because…”

So lets return to our conversation at the beginning. What would someone who understood the connection between struggling and achievement say?

Wide-Eyes Novice: How do I dig this hole?

A Digger: One shovel at a time.

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