Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.”
The problem with these books is that they attempt to provide a recipe for challenges that have no recipes. There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations.
There’s no recipe for motivating teams when your business has turned to crap. That’s the hard thing about hard things—there is no formula for dealing with them.
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
It’s not easy.
It’s not simple.
It’s not quick.
It’s not easily mastered.
It’s hard – hard as in difficult.
You will make some bad calls.
You will make some whopping mistakes.
You will really mess some things up.
And, the circumstances of the uncooperative world will work against your success. And against the success of your team; your organization; your endeavors.
As I said…difficulty. Difficult difficulty!
Today, I read a blog post, prominently bandied about on different parts of the social media universe, on how to be more productive. It was – how do I say this nicely? – worthless. Practically worthless.
Oh, I did not disagree with it. But it was too…simple.
I’m not trying to be unkind here. I have written a lot of blog posts myself. A lot! Including this one, right now. And I’m trying to tell you, the reader, that’s it’s not that easy.
Will my blog post help you? Not much. Go and read a good book – a book that has been around, and is still useful — about how difficult things are. Read it carefully; slowly. Take your time with it. Ponder things as you read it.
Read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. He only survived the Nazi death camps. That qualifies as difficult. (By the way, this book gets a lot of mentions as “the most important book I have ever read” in the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris).
Read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. He says that “Life is difficult.” Yep; it is! It is very difficult. (By the way, this book was the best-selling nonfiction book in the U.S. for about a decade, when it came out).
Become much more reflective. Ponder difficulty. Ponder your difficulties. Difficulties in your work life. Difficulties in other parts of your life.
And, yes, read The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. His point: the easy things are easy. It’s the hard things that will eat your lunch, and give you sleepless nights, and leave you dispirited.
Recognize that the difficult things are …difficult.
Acknowledge that you will always face such difficult challenges. When in the midst of your next one, say: “this is my current difficult challenge.”
There will always be the next such challenge.
And recognize that it will take some deep dives, into serious books, and into your own soul, to rise up to such difficult challenges.
That is all.