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Take The Hard Path

The Easy Path Is A Slide Into Chaos

Last week, we talked about sharing the abundance of our Life’s Harvest with others. Today, I want to talk about one of the paradoxical sources of joy in a fulfilled life: following the path of greater resistance.

When I was younger, one of my friends once told me: “You don’t always have to do things the hard way. Life should be easy and fun.”

In a way, he’s right – we don’t have to do things the hard way, and life should be easy and fun. We can seek comfort and follow the path of least resistance. It is pleasurable to do so.

But, as we’ve discussed before – pleasure is a prison. It is a sweet, addicting trap that distracts us with good things when we should be pursuing great things. Even worse, pleasure seduces us towards unrighteous action even more effectively than does pain:

  • Tempted by a few moments of fun, people stray from their partners
  • Tempted by the dopamine rush of victory, people cheat at games
  • Tempted by money, people lie on their taxes and accounting statements
  • Tempted by fine objects, people steal from their neighbors
  • Tempted by the sensation of power, people abuse the ones who trust them

Unfortunately, this is where the pleasurable path of least resistance leads – to selfishness, cruelty, and strife. The only way to escape our Shadow is to take the hard path, the path that never gets easier and never ends: sober self-reflection and the pursuit of virtue.

Quote of the Week

“If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly, but the good endures; if you do something shameful in pursuit of pleasure, the pleasure passes quickly, but the shame endures” — Musonius Rufus

The Good That Endures

The hard path looks different for everyone depending on what we’ve experienced, what we want from life, and the impact we’ve already had on the world. 

  • For some, it means letting go of people, places, and things that prevent our growth
  • For some, it means facing and breaking addictions
  • For some, it means seeking discomfort in an area of our life that has become too comfortable
  • For some, it means taking on a great challenge or more responsibility
  • For some, it means relinquishing the responsibilities we hold that we’re not qualified for

Although the hard path looks different for every traveller, there are certain things that will always point us to growth:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Discipline
  • Moderation
  • Persistence

There is a time to rest and a time to train. There is a time to bow and a time to fight.

So, how can we discern which season of life we’re entering and which way to go when faced with a difficult choice?

Take the hard path, for the easy path is a slide into chaos.

Question of the Week

What are some of the great things (like honesty and discipline) you’ve sacrificed for good things (like comfort or pleasure) – only to later regret the decision? How will you choose differently in the future?

 

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