It was never meant to be easy

Want to become the hero in your own story instead of the victim?

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my todos, this mental shift helps me:

Life is just a series of problems
Fixing this immediate problem won’t mean smooth sailing from here on in.
I will just come across yet another problem.

↘️ I haven’t got enough leads
↘️ Solve the problem…
↘️ Now I’m too busy with sales calls.
↘️ Solve the problem…
↘️ Now I haven’t enough time to fulfil all the work…

Some problems are better to have than others, for sure.
But all of life is just a series of problems one after the other.
Many spend all their energy avoiding problems.

  • Avoid the promotion, it’s too much responsibility
  • Avoid the workout it’s too hard after a day at work
  • Avoid the awkward conversation, let people walk on you
  • Avoid the hard choices,
  • Then complain bitterly and look jealously on other people who have more, can do more, Or be more.

This is a victim mindset and it can become a way of life.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you are not in this group.
But you probably can think of someone who is.

We all need reminding of this sometimes:

We get frustrated by situations because we wish they were a different way.
“I shouldn’t have to do this, this is Xs fault”
“If X hadn’t happened I’d have more money”
“If I had only done Y then I’d have more time right now”
We see obstacles as problems, because we hold an insane idea that things in your life SHOULD be a certain way.
And our idea of how things should be is always “easier”.
Events in life aren’t meant to be anything, they just are!

If we can let go of this,
And accept that life is not easy or hard, instead it simply is the way it is,
Then we can start to deal with obstacles and enjoy the process.

A straight, easy path builds no resilience.
Every obstacle is an opportunity to learn, to harden yourself, to expand your mind, to tell a story.
Each time we get stronger, and the next obstacle gets easier.

There will ALWAYS be another obstacle…
So I can choose hard paths now, or easy paths later.

Not only that, but the struggle is the most interesting point in a story.
Every good story follows the same broad arc:

  • The call to adventure
  • Enter the unknown
  • A series of tests, trials
  • The final battle
  • The reward
  • The resurrection

After following this journey, the hero achieves freedom and enlightenment,
become stronger, happier more enlightened from the ordeal.

Our greatest struggles are often the best scene in the movie. They are the climactic scene, the boss battle.

These stories are cyclical too:
Good stories always have sequels!
There will be more realisations, more trials, more rewards.

So I use the phrase “zoom out” as a keyword to remind myself to look at the bigger picture and realise this isn’t the end of all things, it’s just one scene in a much longer movie.

So next time you feel like life’s getting on top of you,
Remember you’re facing this problem because you’ve completed the step that comes before this problem.
This is just the next step on the path.

Enjoy putting your energy and attention into solving them.
The alternative is give up and fall into apathy.

Recommended reading:
📕 The Obstacle is the Way
📕 The Daily Stoic

Zoom out. look at the bigger picture and realise this is just one bad day in a grander life.

Picture of Nicholas Robb

Nicholas Robb

Founder, Design Hero
Author of Life by Design

More tips on stoicism for solopreneurs...

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