Does easiness make something more likable? Daughter’s question fires me up.

September 20, 2012

I came home from work the other day and my daughter asked me how my day was. I said it was “harder” than some. She looked at me worried and said “But dad, I thought you liked work.”

I thought about that for a moment. My reply: “Just because something is hard doesn’t mean I don’t like it.”

I’m not sure she fully understood, let alone appreciated, my point. But I want her to. Many aspects in life (not just work) are hard. Hard as hell. But that doesn’t make them unlikeable. On the contrary a good challenge is often what makes life worthwhile.

Achievement and accomplishment are directly tied to mastering things that are difficult, be it work related, sporting or what have you. That is part and parcel to a purpose-driven life. Said another way easiness is not always your friend. Nor should it be. If my daughter grows up thinking ease of doing is all that matters then she might as well eat donuts all day long. Not a good plan.

I fear my daughter and many other people, including adults, take “easiness” as a euphemism for “likability.” A worrisome thought. I get that kids don’t enjoy doing hard things, like homework, chores or getting up in the morning.

But we move on, don’t we?

Maybe not. The phrase “famous for being famous” comes to mind. Without beating a dead horse our culture is inundated with halfwits and do-nothings that have achieved much without doing anything. Hard work has been replaced by being in the right place at the right time. Or some other form of pointless providence.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a cakewalk, probably too much. Yet, I’m most happy when I’m focusing on a goal, be it in a run around the bay or tackling a tricky brief at work. I also know the feeling of accomplishment is as fleeting as it is fantastic. A new challenge is soon required. Hard work becomes its own reward and a spiritual one at that. The hunt, as they say, is more gratifying than the kill. This is what keeps me so engaged at work. Engaged period. Shortcuts, be they technological or psychological, have altered much. But not all. And for this I am thankful.

I’m convinced my daughter will figure out the path less trodden is often the more rewarding one and therefor more likable. If not my job, hard as it may be, is to teach her.

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5 Responses to “Does easiness make something more likable? Daughter’s question fires me up.”

  1. You can thank TV for this, and you’re not the only one who sees it — I complain about this all the time. This is the reason why Reality TV grinds my axe. Gettin’ paid to bar-hop, cry a lot, and fist pump…

    • baselassaf said

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. Not so much on television as a whole, but specifically on reality television. The USA culture, especially the younglings, admire and idolize these pseudo-celebrities. It makes me uncomfortable just thinking about the media’s future.

  2. mickeymuhn said

    Absolutely love this. For me, a “good day” is one in which I have been productive. Although sometimes needed, lazy days leave me feeling unsatisfied, as if I wasted precious time and have nothing to show for it. I think sometimes I’m guilty of putting off my work, but ultimately, when all is said and done, I’m never as happy as I am when I finish a big project. Thanks for this.

  3. Cécile said

    Excellent point. Writing is one of those activities that are all but easy. Yet, once it’s done, the reward is far greater than watching TV for 2 hours. I guess the trick is to find a balance between easy, fun activities and difficult ones. Both are necessary.

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