You Can Do Hard Things

Making art is hard.
Doing something people don’t understand is hard.
Therapy is hard.
Lifting weights is hard.
Grieving is hard.
Paying off debt is hard.
Creating work we’re proud of is, almost always, hard.

So many of the worthwhile things in life—the things that ask us to meet ourselves and bring us closer to others—are so very hard.

But we can do hard things. Not all at once, and not perfectly, but bit by bit we can build up our capacity for discomfort.

Here’s the best way I’ve found to do this: If you’re really going through it in one area of your life (your business, your job, your finances, your health, a relationship, etc.) try building up your capacity in a seemingly unrelated area.

Commit to learning how to make great scrambled eggs, learn how to knit, take up an instrument, sign up for an improv class, go hiking, start a writing practice. The skills you develop—curiosity, courage, resilience, tenacity, confidence—aren’t activity-specific. You’ll bring them to everything you do.

This is why I love weight lifting so much. Repeatedly standing in front of a bar you don’t think you can lift and then, somehow, throwing it over your head does wonders for your confidence. As soon as I learned I could do hard things within those gym walls it became easier to embrace that posture in the rest of my life. Skills translate.

And remember:

Life does not have to be easy in order to be beautiful.


This is an excerpt from the newsletter I sent yesterday. To read the full letter and sign up for future ones, click here.