Which Button Will You Push?

Burning-Match -derek-GaveyMonday Morning Match is a quick post – maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea – intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

It’s been said that there are no shortcuts on the road to success. If you want to be a winner, you’re going to have to do the work necessary and that doesn’t just mean showing up on “game day” and thinking your good is going to be good enough.

Olympians can’t just be good during the two weeks of competition. They have been working their asses off for the least four years. Some…no, scratch that… most, have been planning, training, practicing and dreaming of that moment even longer than that. They woke up early, stayed up late, spent money they didn’t have and gave up things they wanted to have a chance to be great. Ask any of them and they’ll tell you they would do it all over again.

Actresses don’t just make it to Broadway. Attorneys don’t argue their first cases before the Supreme Court. Doctors don’t just show up at the employment office, fill out an application and walk in to the operating room. They made the decision to become a doctor and then do all of the challenging things that are required to become a doctor. The attend difficult classes, work ungodly hours as interns and residents, clean bedpans and rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, all in hopes of someday becoming a doctor.

The Easy Button Is Not the Default

I was chatting with a friend of mine from college over the weekend. Susan asked me if I thought that more and more people are going through life – their jobs, their relationships, their health, etc. – and looking for the easy way. Was our society becoming lazier and lazier each day? Everyone seems to want to ‘win” but not everyone is willing to face the obstacles and challenges that winners overcome. The feeling of entitlement is growing bigger in our society, as we sit back and want what our neighbors and friends have without knowing the entire story of how they got it.

Easy ButtonThere are more than 310 million people in the United States alone and every one of them has a different story. Just like you might be trying to keep up with the Joneses, there’s someone else who thinks you are a Jones too. They want what you have at the same time you are coveting someone elses success. It’s a cyclical problem where almost everyone wants “theirs.” They just don’t want to have to work for it.

As much as it pains me to say, there is no “Easy Button” like the folks at Staples talk about.  Even if there was, think about what the button actuall says anyway.

“That was easy.”

Please re-read that sentence again.

It says “that WAS easy,” not “this will be easy” or “by pushing this button I will not have to do any work, suffer any losses, put forth any effort or risk anything.” The button is really an “Easy Badge” or “Easy Recognition Button.” It tells us that something WAS easy.

It’s the button we need to push when we get to the closing table after overcoming three low-ball offers and 16 missed appointments; a bad inspection where the buyer asked for everything to be fixed…including the kitchen sink; a Seller who “had to make $10,000” on the sale yet somehow found a way to bring $2500 to the table to make the deal happen. It was hard to get there but, looking back, you can wipe your brow, smile and say “that was easy.” Or maybe you’ll be able to say “that was hard as hell but it’ll be easier the next time because I’ll know how to handle it better.”

It’s the button we use after we face the flame throwing fastball pitcher and we end up on second base after our mighty swing of the bat connected with the pitch and sent the ball all the way to the wall. It’s the button we push after asking out that cute girl from Starbucks that we’ve noticed the last few weeks but listened to the voice in our head tell us she wouldn’t be interested. We push that button with emotion and excitement when our kid comes home with a smile on her face and a A+ on her report card and says “Thanks for helping me with the project Dad. We got an A!”

“That WAS easy!”

It’s All Relative

Sure, we all face things that are a challenge. Every real estate transaction could have a component that is difficult, especially if you’ve never done that particular task or activity. Marketing a downtown condo might be hard but it’s no harder than marketing a 4-bedroom Tudor in the suburbs. Your problem is no bigger or more urgent or more impossible than the next persons.

Coming up with money for down payment on a car could be a struggle for many but it’s not necessarily any harder than another family coming up with a child’s college tuition or money to pay a loved one’s hospital bill. One persons first public speech could be just as daunting as the next persons dentist appointment.

“There is no ‘harder’, there is just hard.” – Ash Beckham

There isn’t much that we get in life that comes easy. If you want something in this world, you’re probably going to have to put forth some effort. It might mean there will be a financial investment or a dedication of time or additional resources needed to make it happen. There will be struggles and there might even be some failures along the way. Remember that those challenges are there to knock down the people who aren’t truly committed to achieving the task or goal. They are there to separate the men from the boys, the cream from the crop and the winners from the losers.

Never be fooled into thinking that if something isn’t easy then that means it’s hard. The opposite of easy isn’t hard, it’s “not easy,” just like the opposite of married isn’t divorced, it’s “not married.” There will be struggles, there will be challenges and there might even be some blood, sweat or tears.

Which Button Will You Push?

Move forward building relationships, solving problems and having fun. If you do those three things each day there’s a much better chance that you’ll be able to hit that “Easy Button” with a smile on your face instead of hitting the “Eject Button” and giving up because life wasn’t easy enough on you.

Photo Credit: Derek Gavey

Photo Credit: Damian Gadal

2 Responses to Which Button Will You Push?
  1. Susan Bernstein
    February 24, 2014 | 2:36 pm

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Sean. I think this concept applies to so many areas of modern life. When we look for the “easiest” route to get what we want, we often don’t get very much in return. We all need to remind ourselves that the most worthwhile achievements take some effort, and that the result of our hard work will be truly satisfying. If you do nothing, you’ll get nowhere.

    • Sean
      February 24, 2014 | 5:44 pm

      So true Susan. Thanks for the push that got me thinking. That’s always a good thing.