• Dr. Carolyn Frost

All Things Are Difficult Before They Are Easy

Updated: Apr 8


It's hard to start something new...


What makes us think it should be any other way??


Try this with me.


Grab a pen and a piece of paper


Go ahead, really do it - this takes 30 seconds.


* Write your full name with your dominant hand

* Now write it with your non-dominant hand


What did you notice?


Any thoughts while you were writing?


Were you surprised by what the writing looked or felt like?


My own observations…


* Even after 12 years of marriage, I still don’t know how to write a capital F. Anyone else miss their maiden name's initial? My 'D' was always on POINT.


* Interestingly, I notice that I can write a capital F with my left hand


* I could barely write the 's' with my left hand


* I had to switch the paper’s orientation on my desk in order to write properly with the other hand


* It was really cumbersome to write with my left hand; it felt awkward even holding the pen


* It took me way longer to write using my left hand


* I formed some of the letters differently on the second side


* My left hand writing is that of a 1st grader



If you could only write with your non-dominant hand for a month or even a year, what do you think would happen?


What would the writing feel like? Look like?


 


"ALL THINGS ARE DIFFICULT BEFORE THEY ARE EASY"

- THOMAS FULLER


 

As kids we expected that learning new things would take time.


We knew it would take a while to add, subtract, write our names, color inside the lines, zipper our jackets, and figure out how to read.


We didn't give up on walking, riding bikes, or blowing bubbles just because it was hard, or new, or awkward.


We didn't make it mean anything about us that we couldn't miraculously tie our shoes, or that we couldn't do a cartwheel on the first try.


We accepted it would take some time. We failed, we fell, we got gum in our hair.


We asked parents, siblings, friends and teachers for help.


We made mistakes. And we kept going. And then eventually.... we got it.


Why do we think that just because we are older, new things should be incredibly easy, and we should just be brilliant at everything new thing we do?


This mentality holds us back and paralyzes growth.


Learning a new skill, creating a new habit, stepping out of your comfort zone - all of this takes practice.


So often, even if we are desperate for change, we don’t actually want to do anything differently, don’t want to try something new.


We want to wave the magic wand and just skip over being new, or awkward, or having to actually learn something - we want to just go right to being great at it.


And then when we’re not, we are disappointed, and we give up.


If you are like me, this has played out time and again in your own life.


Hello piano lessons 👋🏼 The same ones I gave up because I couldn't immediately play a symphony, and that I now make my children take to make up for my long-lost piano playing dreams.


How many of us have given up because it was too hard, or because we weren't good enough when we started?


* Learning a musical instrument

* Playing a new sport

* Speaking a new language

* Using a clampy curling iron - what on earth is happening there?

* Meditating

* Trusting your instincts

* Learning to play tennis (or any sport) as an adult

* Starting a new business

* Using your new iPhone

* Memorizing the words to We Didn't Start the Fire

* Yoga poses that others seem to do effortlessly - but are in fact hard AF

* Starting a new job

* Creating a website

* Taking care of a newborn

* Listening to your body - easier said than done, but sooo worth the effort

* Letting go of an unhealthy relationship

* Doing a French Braid

* Deleting a time-sucking social media account

* Going to sleep at a reasonable time

* Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet

* Adding regular movement to your day


 

What comes up as you look through that list?


Anything else you would add?


Some of these things by the way, never really get easy, we just eventually prioritize the long term gain over the short term discomfort.


Hello taking care of infants, meditating + half of the things on that list!


That's called growth.


How does growth show up for you now? Are there things on this list that you DID stick with?


What does that bring up to know you kept at it even when it was difficult?


Are you glad, proud, inspired?


How might recalling the times you stuck with it inform how you move forward with new challenges?


 


DON’T COMPARE YOUR CHAPTER ONE TO

SOMEONE ELSE’S CHAPTER 20



 

Let’s stop thinking we should just automatically do challenging things perfectly on the first try.


What if instead…..


* We expected it to be challenging.


* We knew it would be hard and that there would be failures and missteps along the way.

* That everything wouldn’t go exactly as planned.


What if we knew this, expected discomfort, and did it anyway?


What if we embraced the challenge, and enjoyed the growth that comes with it.


That’s where magic happens.


We create space for curiosity, mindfulness, determination, patience and focus.


Yessssss


Imagine what could change.



 


LET'S PRACTICE


 

Step 1 >> Select one small change you would like to make in your life


Maybe it’s a habit you want to add, or something you would like to do less of. Some helpful tips HERE!


Step 2 >> Get your pen and paper


Bring along your open mind ;)


Step 3 >> Write out your desired change and then create two columns below


* List all of the likely obstacles on the left side; they've come up before, they'll come up again


* List all the ways you can manage/reinvent/handle them WHEN they come up (because they will)


Step 4 >> Write down your Why.


* Why do you even want to do this?


* What is going to keep you going when it's challenging, or when you're tired, or when you would rather settle in for a Netflix marathon.


Step 5 >> Keep this list in your back pocket (physically and/or mentally) and refer to it often


Brooke Castillo likens challenge to going to the grocery store. You're expecting to hit some red lights along the way. That doesn't stop you from going. You don't get to the first red light and say, "Well forget it. Might as well just turn around now."


No! You expect the delays, the challenges and the hardships - and you keep going anyway.


Don’t let the initial challenge prevent you from doing it.


Be willing to be a beginner, to be awkward and unsure of yourself.


Cultivate patience, belief, and trust in YOU.


All things are challenging at the beginning.


That’s ok.


Expect it.


And do them anyway.










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