It’s kind of funny to keep watching people who want things to come easy to them in life. Many other people know of this tendency among human beings, so they keep selling them diet pills that let them eat whatever they want, job information that will make them rich with no effort, college “degrees” that require no study at all, and many other “easy” fixes to their problems, easy fulfillment of their desires. But over and over again these people who want the easy ways out are disappointed, for what they hoped and expected would help them simply has left them still with their problems and now with a little less money in their pockets and wallets.
I’m coaching a high school girls’ basketball team right now, one that not only has a brand-new coach (me), but that also lost most of their players from last year. We’ve adopted the slogan “Nothing Comes Easy” for this year, mainly because we all knew that we would have a long and difficult road ahead of us–that is, if we wanted to accomplish anything significant. We definitely could have taken the easy road and doomed ourselves to a winless season, or we could have worked very hard to try to become more than anyone expected. And while we haven’t come out as a Cinderella team that in the movies would win all of their games against much tougher teams, we have become a team that’s extremely competitive, and that already has won more games than anyone expected us to.
That all comes from having a realistic perspective, I believe. We know that we aren’t a very experienced team, and that means that we have to work harder than the other teams, both on and off the court. We have to work harder during games, and we have to work harder during practice. And that’s fine with us, because as long as we know that nothing is going to come easy to us, we’re ready and willing to pay the price necessary to improve.
Saying that “nothing comes easy” isn’t at all defeatist or cynical. It’s a fact that’s been proved over and over in life, as major scientific breakthroughs come after years and years of research and hard work; financial stability comes after years of sacrifice and effort; great movies and albums are made with the most effort and practice and planning and preparation. Colonel Sanders had to visit over 100 restaurants before he sold his recipe for fried chicken, and that came after years of perfecting that recipe. Richard Bach received over 70 rejections for Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and that was after all the time and effort it took him to write the book.
History is full of examples of great successes and great results after a lot of effort and time. There are, of course, the exceptions–those people who have found success almost immediately, with almost no work involved. But they truly are the exceptions rather than the rule. And that type of success rarely is lasting, either.
When we remind ourselves that nothing truly worthwhile comes easy, we can face our obstacles and problems with more equanimity, and we can be much more calm in the face of setbacks. When we know that it’s going to take time and work to reach a goal, we’re much more likely to accept delays as necessary elements of the process, and we’re much more likely to see obstacles as learning opportunities rather than back-breakers. Keeping in mind that nothing comes easy, we can give our best effort because we know that it’s that effort–as well as the time involved–that’s going to craft a fine finished product.