Do the hard thing

Mark Foti
Mark Foti
Feb 18 · 3 min read

I have come to deeply realize that to feel good (fulfilled, healthy, happy, high self-esteem, inspired, motivated, …you name it) in this life, you have to work hard. And there is no way around this. And it is actually a fairly beautiful realization. It is beautiful because it’s simple. If you can live by this truth, you have the secret to happiness, really.

I can guarantee that if you are feeling badly, it is because in some way you are essentially “rolling down the hill” so to speak, in some area of your life that is important for you to feel good. My grandmother always says that it is so easy to roll down the hill, but it takes work to climb up.

Don’t let yourself roll down the hill. Take a step, even one little small step, to break the cycle and make the climb. Ask yourself, “what is one thing that I could do for myself right now that’s good for me?”. It really depends on who you are, what you value, etc. etc. But that might be, “I’m going to spend 2 hours studying or working with no distractions”. Or it might be, “I’m going to go for a 20 minute walk”. Or maybe it’s, “I’m going to make a healthy dinner tonight instead of eating out, or eating fast food”. And by god, if you take one step, you can start to gain strength to take the next step. And the next. You gain momentum. And not only that, but also- this work ethic spreads to other areas of your life, and it multiplies. It’s a beautiful thing.

Here’s an example: I have been feeling pretty badly within the past week or so; really unfulfilled and a little bit confused, lost, scattered, sad. This is a direct result of me not being focused with my work the past few days (which then starts to spread to other areas of my life!! *crucial point*). I have not set aside study blocks to really delve deeply into my work. Instead, I have just been doing these unfocused, quick little sessions of work, and I end up just stopping because I feel stupid or uninspired or like it’s just too difficult (I study data science and machine learning…it really takes focus). But today I said, you know what, enough of this “rolling down the hill” (which, like I said, has been spreading to other areas of my life, including my health and diet and general self-esteem, etc.); I am going to dive head first back into my studies today and get a nice study session in. If there is nothing else that I do today, I am going to work hard for these 2 hours and see what happens. And wow, gosh, I feel like a new person. And boom, I start to get inspired to do more healthy things for myself, not just my work, but social life and diet and exercise and what not.

We are very fragile, or actually, I’ll speak for myself (and you can decide if you relate)- I am very fragile, and all it takes is a few bad/lazy decisions to then start the “roll” down the hill. And it’s tough to get out of that cycle.

But I urge you to ask yourself a simple question to get out of this cycle of “rolling down the hill”: “what is one good thing that I could do for myself right now?”/ “what is the hard thing to do right now?” (for instance, the easy thing to do might be to continue watching that youtube video that you’re watching; the hard thing would be to turn it off and do that errand that you’ve been putting off). Ask yourself this in every moment, with every decision. Let this be who you are- the person who does the hard thing. And oh my god, you will start to feel SO good. It’s the hard work (in any area of your life) that makes you feel good! It’s so simple! Do the hard work! One step at a time! You will gain momentum!