When was the last time you said, “It’s just not convenient for me”? Have you ever thought about what this really means? I mean, clearly life would be easier if what we wanted just fell into place at the exact time we wanted it, right?…..Wouldn’t that be nice?! But would that make life better…..more fulfilling….or more enjoyable? The “convenient” answer is “Yes”…..but after spending a great deal of time this week thinking about acting out of convenience vs. acting out of principle or for what is “right” in the pursuit of something “Great”…..I’m pretty confident that the convenient answer is WRONG!
Take a moment and ponder a few things that you place value on in your life…..your relationships with others and / or a higher being….your recreational activities….your job…the purchase of a beloved sports car….your report card or desired college choice….your health and fitness! What is it about these items that make them carry so much value? I’d argue it’s due in large part to the amount of effort and hard work they require to ensure they are a success…or great. Take some examples below:
- Relationships – if it was always about convenience and things just coming easily…would we ever grow…if we were never pushed or confronted or expected to be our best….would we place the same kind of value on the relationship that we do with others who bring out our best? Would our mind and heart allow us to remain focused and committed….or would things get stale and boring?
- Recreational Activities – why do people love golf….because it can be relaxing, but still a challenge to master….why do athletes train for hours to perfect skills?….because their is an enormous feeling of self-worth…or greatness, when you’ve given your all leading to accomplishment….and the main reason the accomplishment is great is only because it took so much work to get there! In almost a never ending circle, the work (aka inconvenience) is what makes outcomes so great…and great outcomes is what drives us to work!
- Your Job – ever go through the day staring at the clock, just waiting till it struck leaving time? I used to do this before finding something I could be passionate about…..this job was convenient…it paid well….not much was expected out of me…but each day I left feeling empty….I was simply looking for a paycheck, and to get out of work to go do what “I really loved”, but even the mighty dollar wasn’t fulfilling enough for me to feel great. Since that time, thankfully I’ve had the pleasure to meet, speak, and work with people on the other side of this coin…those who work 12+ hours a day, for far less pay because they believe in their product / service….they don’t feel the need to shut down the computer at a specific time or push today’s tasks to tomorrow, regardless of how convenient (or inconvenient)….instead they work till the job is done because they believe in it’s purpose and the self-fulfillment and value it brings them.
- The beloved sports car (insert other material possessions here) – why is it they are so valuable to us….is it possibly because they are usually scarce, expensive, or otherwise hard to come by….and because we have to work hard to have the means to purchase or otherwise acquire them?
- Your desired college (or that of your children) – what’s so important about the “Ivy League” anyway (or any other prestigious school)…sure the education is great…but why? The education is great because it’s challenging…it pushes you and your limits….it exposes you to experiences that other schools may not be able to offer….but the challenge doesn’t come on your terms…it comes when the professor says so, and (coming from someone who missed a few social outings to study) it’s far from convenient.
- Your Health & Fitness – the convenient approach would be to eat the foods that are readily available and cheap sold at “Convenience” stores (ironic name huh?) or Fast Food chains…..but why is this type of meal so cheap and readily available….because there’s very little work (or love for you Mom’s out there) that goes into making it great! Or what about how convenient it is to plop down on the couch after a long day’s work…hit the snooze button too many times in the morning…or stay in on a rainy day rather than getting up and out to exercise….it’s certainly convenient…but will not lead to “Great” health & fitness.
Bottom line our journey to doing something Great…..and a key to being (a)LIVE is taking the road that twists, turns, goes up & down….and “You can be sure of one thing…there is never a crowd on the extra mile” – it’s anything but convenient!