Friday, November 28, 2008

Difficult, Difficult, Difficult Easy

I read this at on Alwyn Cosgrove's Blog and it stirred something in me that I took action on 4 things that have been on my list of "things to do" but where never done due to my own little "fears" about them!

Hopefully you find some truth to this and it moves you in a way that you really get it! Here's some examples of me making difficult, easy choices in my life and justifying it in a way that I thought was difficult, difficult!

Training in the gym for me is Difficult, Easy!
Speaking to groups of people about health is Difficult, Easy!
Telling myself, that I'm overwhelmed with stuff is Difficult, Easy!
Posting on the blog about "intellectual" stuff is Difficult, Easy! Posting from the heart is Difficult, Difficult!

In order for this to make sense, I'll leave you with the article below!

Difficult difficult, difficult easy
Geoff Thompson

I bumped into an old friend from the distant past. In my early days as a hard-nosed knuckle-dragger he was one of my compatriots, and one of the hardest working martial artists around. He had always prided himself on his sinewy mentality when it came to all things physical, and he had a prolific work rate. After a brief (and predictable) catch up (how’s the work, the car, the kids, the wife and the mum – in that order) he said ‘hey, you still doing animal day?’
Animal day, for those that do not know, is a form of knock-out or submission fighting (any range, any technique) that I pioneered in the mad, bad (and often sad) 90’s. A time I absolutely loved, but a time I am also grateful to have left behind.

I shook my head in the negative. It had been a many years since I engaged in my last animal day fight.
‘Why not?’ he asked, adding, ‘I’m still mad for it.’

‘Because it is difficult easy,’ I said, ‘and in order for me to continue growing my character, I don’t need difficult easy. In order for me to grow my character I need difficult difficult.’
He gave me one of those loud, squinty eyed confused looks that shouted from a hundred feet ‘Explain!’

So I explained.

Even as a veteran of thousands of fights, animal days were still a scary experience for me, it was violent and dangerous and extremely difficult. But because I had fought so many times and knew the terrain well it no longer stretched me.

Whatever it was that I needed to reap from that hard period of my life had been well and truly harvested; there was nothing left for me to learn there. Animal day was still difficult, and from the outside looking in it probably looked as though it was mad difficult, but for me it wasn’t, in fact it had become difficult easy.

My friend was still in love with the ground-and-pound style fighting and whilst his physical prowess was evident he had not grown even a single inch in any other area of his life, probably not for the last ten years. His was the mistake made by many; they presume that if something is difficult then they are in the arena. But experience has taught me that the only time you are truly in the arena is when you are (ever so slightly) out of your depth.

Difficult easy is when you are on familiar terrain, not matter how hard the going.

Difficult difficult is when you find your self at the bottom of someone else’s class with three crazy training partners; fear at your left, doubt on your right and (that big bastard) uncertainty squaring up in front of you.

Difficult easy is treading water whilst kidding yourself that you are swimming against the tide.

Difficult difficult doesn’t need to employ pretence because it is drowning and swimming for its life.

I see many people suffering stalled development because they are so busy occupying themselves with very worthy, respectably, difficult easy tasks that they use to avoid the difficult difficult areas of their lives.

I am doing it right now as it happens. I should be doing a re-write of a difficult (difficult) film script that is over due, but instead I am busying myself with a piece of difficult (easy) work that is not really due to be in print for another fortnight (damn, caught myself out again!)

Some (more) examples; you bury your relationship problems (difficult difficult) under hundreds of miles of road running (difficult…but easy).

You fill every spare moment with hard lists of worthy causes (difficult easy) so that you don’t have the time to invest in the book that you were always going to write, or the film you would love to make (if only you were not so committed in other areas) or the (difficult…very difficult) painting career that you had always intended to create.

You immerse yourself in course after course, book after book (so difficult, and yet….so deliciously easy) on becoming a life coach/property developer/master chef instead of just getting out there (difficult, oh so difficult) and actually doing it.

Listen. Let me tell you, the moment a task becomes difficult easy you stop growing. That is a fact. In order to re-establish your vital development you need to take an honest inventory (difficult very difficult – I have done it) of your life, ditch the pretence, and embrace the black that is….difficult difficult.

And stop chasing ostentatious challenges (that are difficult easy for you) and sort out your health; you are three stone over weight and your blood pressure is off the scale.

Kill the worthy endeavours that you think other people will think are impressive and do something truly and uniquely impressive; take your (secret) addictions to task and kill the porn (in all its forms).

Stop collecting trophies and certificates and belts that tell the word how successful you are and actually BE a success, by taking a hammer to that creepily burgeoning fear that you are harbouring.

And don’t, please (like my old mate) fall into the trap of mistaking hard work – even extremely hard (easy) work - for progress. Because, let’s be frank, difficult easy is really just another way of saying ‘easy’, and there is no growth in easy.

We aspirants are into the hard game, the long game, the difficult difficult game. What we are not into, or what we should not be into is the game of easy


Roundballnz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roundballnz said...

Great post - you can be flat out busy & stressed BUT Bored out of your mind! - its about taking that jump over the cliff

Spida Hunter said...

I'm now reading Geoff Thompsons book Watch my back, which are his story of bouncing in the 80's and 90's. they are making it into a movie or have made it into a movie!

Good read so far and he talks about FEAR alot in it which i'm loving!

rich cadden said...

This is an interesting new perspective.... Rather than a striving for perfection, are you saying that we should all be 70%'ers. We get to 70% and give up? We have had the "experience" but we have not achieved greatness/perfection. The longer you practice a martial art, the longer it takes to make that small improvement.
An interesting concept for people who feel like they SHOULD to change. But if you are happy doing what your doing (rather than being a myrter) THEN I would say continue through to your idealisation as a perfectionist.

PS This is what is going to stop me from retiring from muay thai. :)

Spida Hunter said...

Hey Richard, I'm definatly not saying get to 70% and give up and I'm pretty sure Geoff is not as well. Or that is not what I've interpreted from it anyway!

I will speak from how I've got the message from what he wrote.

Quote: Difficult easy is when you are on familiar terrain, no matter how hard the going.

For me this means; Yes I train at the gym and often I can train harder then most can tolerate, however it's still difficult, easy. Because the terrain is familiar to me, I know what is around the corner because "physically" it's difficult, easy.

E.g. I'm going to do my first marathon on May 31st 2009. To be truthful this is difficult, easy. Because in my hearts of hearts I don't have any Difficult Difficult as Geoff explains below.

Quote: Difficult difficult is when you find your self at the bottom of someone else’s class with three crazy training partners; fear at your left, doubt on your right and (that big bastard) uncertainty squaring up in front of you.

Now you ask me to do back to back Marathons i.e. 2 in a row!! And I get Difficult, Difficult (fear, doubt, uncertainty) of holy sugar can I really do 2?!??

You mentioned; "Idealization as a perfectionist"!

There are 2 types of people:
1)Those that look at "ideal" and measure themselves against it.

2) Those that look at "ideal" and measure themselves against what or where they started.

e.g. the 1st example you are never satisfied because you are always measuring against something that is never closer to you because it's an "ideal", like trying to get to the sunrise/sunset. You will never get any closer because no matter HOW far you have traveled you are still not any closer to your the sunset!

E.g. 2 you are still striving for an "ideal" but you are measuring against where you were at, so upon "reflection" you get to see HOW far you have come even though you know your "ideal" is far away!

Does this make sense Richard? I hope I'm getting my point across. Basically my advice to you (anyone) is ALWAYS measure from your starting point, from that you will feel happy, grateful, successful etc.. because you are making progress. Rather then following the 2nd example.