When Life is Difficult, Follow this Principle

Written by Philip Wright, SHIFT Collective.

Listen to this quote by Scott Peck from his book, The Road Less Travelled:

“Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult”.

Did you get that? You have to chew on his words for a moment to get the weight of what he is saying. 

Let me explain. 

I think that for most of us, the difficulties of life are a surprise. We are surprised that the event, or disappointment, responsibility, or need for adjustment would come our way. The fact that we are continually shocked and broadsided emotionally when difficulties hit us like a rogue wave reveals that our view of life is incorrect. Where did we get the idea that life is supposed to be free of obstacles or butt-jarring speed bumps?

What this error of thinking produces in us is resistance.It’s not the actual difficulty in life that wears us out. It’sour resistance and push back that does us in. As long as you are saying; “why is this happening to me?” you are resisting. You can’t move forward until you first accept where your feet are. Denial of the reality of the fact prolongs the difficulty and makes it impossible to move forward.

A few weeks ago I was looking at a picture of one of my nephews in an amusement park, riding a roller-coaster. In the picture his face was tense and his arms were tight as he white knuckle gripped the bar in front of him. You could tell that he wasn’t enjoying the ride and was trying by sheer will and brute strength to slow it down but of course to no avail. The lady next to him was laughing and wailing like a banshee giving into her fate which was to ride this beast until it flamed out on its own. Who do you think was more exhausted when the ride ended? You guessed it – it was my nephew who was trying to resist every move made by that metal monster. 

We are guilty of resisting when we should be riding. We are told over and over that life isn’t fair and that sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. That’s not true. In reality it’s; “Sometime we win … sometime we learn”. I love that spin on the phrase and I believe itwith all my heart! Not winning shouldn’t mean losing -it should mean learning. Learning in a situation like that is simply “tuition”. You had to emotionally spend a little bit but it brought understanding to you in a way that nothing else could. 

Once you truly understand and accept that life is difficult a magical thing will happen – it will no longer be difficult. You will accept that its part of the ride we are on called life. I’m not talking about a fatalistic view of life where you just say; “The heck with it, life sucks. What’s the use of trying”? Not at all! I’m saying embrace life, don’t resist life. Learn from it, become wise in it, grow stronger because of it, don’t be surprised by it, don’t back off but lean into it.

History is being written and your story is a part of it!

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”.


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