Do the Hard Thing

Golden Rule #28: “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Thing.”

A story related to me by a favorite exhibit contractor of ours was breathtaking in its simplicity. When colleagues of his became agitated over something outside their control, he pointed out the obvious. “Ain’t nothin’ but a thing,” he said in his distinctive Alabama drawl. With that, I realized he was absolutely right. The person was assigning the “thing” far more importance than it deserved. Things could be changed, replaced, reworked, or relocated. It simply wasn’t worth the significance it was being given or the aggravation it was causing.

copper and possum

When Copper was younger, he had a habit of destroying things. Shoes. Favorite toys. Electronic devices. Sunglasses. As a result, he learned a few things. He learned the meaning of the phrase “tuck in” when we had to leave him alone. We learned not to leave things where he could reach them. I learned dogs are most likely to destroy something out of frustration during the first 30 minutes they’re left on their own. And I learned that no thing was worth destroying Copper’s trust in us as his caregivers.

Entrepreneur and business strategist Dan Waldschmidt said it this way:

You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.

You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.

You have to give more than you get in return right away.

You have to care more about others than they care about you.

You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.

You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.

You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.

You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.

You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.

You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.

You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.

You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts”.

You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.

You have try and fail and try again.

You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.

You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.

You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.

You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.

You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things.

The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

But always remember: it ain’t nothin’ but a thing. Even if it is a hard thing.

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