Some people just seem to have an easier time in life than others. Is it because others are more successful, and therefore their lives are easier? Or is it the other way around? How is it that some people reach different heights in their careers, businesses or skills? Why do some people have busy jobs and don’t seem outwardly stressed, while others get stressed working in relatively mundane jobs?
Ask Yourself This
In our minds, we have the opportunity to change the stories we tell ourselves, to choose a different way to react to the inputs from our senses. I’ve recently come across a couple of methods to help move these stories in a more positive direction.
It started with this Youtube video I watched:
The question comes from Tim Ferriss’ best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek.
“If this were easy, what would it look like?”
For this Youtuber, it’s helped him start multiple business and it’s become one of the foundational ways he decides on how to proceed with things.
How I Plan To Use It
This simple question is something I’ll be trying to apply more to my life. Quite often, I will approach parts of my work thinking that it’s meant to be hard, and as a result it usually is. For example, I used to think that writing blog posts was hard, and sure enough it was. I would sit down to write and wouldn’t be able to get a word down. I couldn’t get over that dreaded blank page.
Until I learned that even Ernest Hemingway struggled to get started with his writing too. He started telling himself this: “All you have to do is write one true sentence”. From here, we would go on to write another sentence, then another, and so on until he could be many pages in without noticing. Before anyone wrote a book about it, he’d just gotten himself into a flow state.
So now, I tell myself that I just need to sit down and write something, anything, and if it needs fixing then I can do that later. I’m not setting out the write the best content ever. Not even anything decent or coherent – no pressure. Suddenly the process of writing has become so much easier because I told myself that it is easy.
Another piece of low-hanging fruit I can immediately identify is Instagram posts. In essence, it should be simple: get a photo (which I take a lot of) and post it. But for the longest time, I’ve wanted to post more often, but always get stuck on writing captions. I think they’re hard. I’m gonna ask myself what it would look like if it were easy and report back.
A spinoff to this idea is something that I’ve been trying out lately: stopping my work just short of an obvious next step. If I’m editing a video, I’ll leave one cut or one clip slightly out of place, ready to be cut in. Or if I’m writing, I’ll leave out the last word in a sentence. That way, I’m making it as easy as possible for my future self to come back and finish that last bit. The idea is that little bit of momentum will lead to another word, then another sentence, and so on. So, to give yourself the best chance at starting your work and getting into that flow state, make the first step as easy as possible.
It’s Your Turn
What areas could you apply this style of thinking to in your life? If your relationships, career goals and finances were easy, what would it look like? Are you looking up at a mountain, afraid to take that first step? It’s easier than you think it is.