‘The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually
Life is tough.
And paradoxically, the sooner you suck that up, the
easier life becomes.
The late John O’Donohue discovered this as a young gasúr
planting a fence post in the limestone topography of his beloved
Burren. He’d been helping his father repair a damaged fence
after a violent storm and he was finding it nigh impossible to
locate an easy place to sink the fence post. It seemed every
place he attempted to impale the post was hard and difficult to
pierce. Just then he discovered a mound of soft grass and sand
where the post descended almost effortlessly. To his dismay
his father promptly told him to take it out explaining that ‘That
post went down far too easily John. There was no resistance. In
the next big wind it will be the first to topple over.’
And so it is with us. We spend vast swathes of our lives seeking
out the quick fix, the easy way out, the short cut. We then
become disillusioned when it rains on our parade and so many
of our dreams and goals end up being toppled by the storms of
We avoid resistance at all costs and in so doing eschew a
priceless opportunity to grow and mature and flourish.
The message is simple. If:
1.The business comes too easy or
2.The romance comes too easy or
3.The freedom comes too easy.
In her wonderful book ‘Flourishing’, Maureen Gaffney draws a
wonderful distinction between three states of mind –
languishing, existing and flourishing. At any given time, 20% of
the population will be floundering; 60% will be functioning;
and a further 20% will be flourishing. This applies equally to
relationships, businesses and individuals.
The tipping point between all three states is a simple ratio of
positivity to negativity. To go from functioning to flourishing
there is an absolute requirement to have at least three times as
much positivity to negativity. Bear in mind that Maureen said
3:1, not 3:0. There is a value and purpose to an aspect of
negativity which I choose to call resistance.
Every great accomplishment in your life will have been
preceded by resistance of some description. Reflect on your
best customers; your proudest accomplishments; your greatest
achievements and I’ll bet you each and every one followed a
period of trial or resistance.
The trick is to welcome resistance as a necessary and
inevitable part of the journey. All the great leaders and lovers
‘Life is difficult’ are the first three words in the iconic book ‘The
Road Less Travelled’ by M. Scott Peck.
What makes life difficult according to Peck is that ‘the process
of confronting and solving problems is a painful one…. Yet it is
in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life
has it’s meaning. Problems are the cutting edge between
success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and
wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally
Many of us however are not so wise as to get this concept.
Dreading the pain involved we ignore them, push them under
the carpet and hope they go away. Peck maintains that ‘This
tendency to avoid problems and emotional suffering inherent in
them is the primary basis of all human mental illness’
So what therefore is the solution?
Had Scott Peck been reared in the west of Ireland he probably
would have said ‘Smacht’ – the Irish word for discipline.
‘Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s
problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only
some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total
discipline we can solve all problems.’
PS: Spaces on our upcoming Boot Camp are limited to an elite
group of 50. In order to ensure your place, please go to
www.smacht.com and reserve your place.