The only way out is through

If it’s easy, you’re not growing.

It’s like lifting weights: if you can do it without trying, you’re not going to get any stronger.

The whole point—of life, of working out, of work—is to push yourself, and to grow as a result of pushing against and through that resistance.

~ Ryan Holiday from,

Nine years ago I was smack in the middle of my HVAC-installer apprenticeship. I lovingly refer to the roughly two-week period as, “that time I got really into attic-yoga.” The contractor installing our central HVAC had a young fellow working with him, and that guy hurt his knee. I spent days learning how to make and insulate hard duct work, HVAC line sets (the wiring and refrigerant piping), electrical, removed the ancient mouse-pee infused blown-in insulation and eventually put in new fiberglass insulation through the attic. It was hell. Hot. Sweaty. Ichy. Low roof. Things to climb in, over, around, through and under. Mostly while carefully stepping, squatting, leaning, and crawling on the long thing ceiling joists. And it was not something I was planning on doing. One day I was all like, “Benjamin is installing the HVAC!” [that’s a money reference] and the next day I was studying attic-yoga.

I bring this up because it’s too easy to think “I’m doing the hard work!” when you are simply going to the gym (or for the morning run, whatever.) Sure, you’re working hard, you’re sweating, and building muscle; you are literally doing hard work.

But that’s nothing compared to choosing to do the hard work, on the spot. Do I whinge and call AAA (road-side assistance club) or do I climb under the van to figure out how to get the spare tire out at Midnight after a long day? Do I take the time to split the portion of the firewood that would be a pain 8 months from now, or do I just stack it and hate my today-self in the dead of winter? Do I take the time to carefully explain something even though it’s not my responsibility or do I just “walk past” that person who needs a hand? Right now, on the spot, do you choose the hard path?