Sometimes, most times, I do things the hard way because it is the hard way, and I take satisfaction in doing it the hard way. It’s not an accident, adversity builds emotional and mental resilience. Ego built on accomplishment rather than ownership. This explains why someone with a world class marathon time, decides to swim and bike an equally absurd distance. Our bodies, minds and spirits crave resistance, challenge and testing as well as appeal of the underdog and the come from behind win. We live in a world where our results are most often far divorced from our real efforts. So when any opportunity presents itself, where we can take up a challenge, something that forces us to push harder. When we are successful we appreciate it at a cellular level. Look at the explosion of adventure/obstacle races. This applies to all your comfort zones, I remember my first major car repair, not a priority in my house growing up. I looked like Tom Hank’s building his first fire is Castaway, both in my frustrated efforts and eventual celebration.
Think about the reverse, when someone lets us win we suffer cheap victory and it feels far more infuriating and saddening than any loss where our full effort falls short. It’s so sour because simply put, that’s how lies taste. I would rather strike out against a major league fast ball than get a home run off of a sympathy pitch. Leave me bloody and beaten, or let me know you really need to go easy on me, either way I will still give my best, but never, never lie to me?
My wife hates that I play my son full tilt at chess. Now I’m no Kasperov, but I give him pointers and the occasional “are you sure that’s what you want to do”, but never thought about rolling over. Now at age eight, he often gets the old man on the ropes, the occasional “check” but no “mate”, yet. The day he does win, he and I will be equally proud…and then I will figure out how to up my game.