Work hard now so you can have it easy later

“Work hard now so you can have it easy later.”

The problem with that idea is that it places overdue importance on some arbitrary milestone – a certain promotion or some net worth number.

As long as we’re focused on solving problems that matter, we are never set. We don’t ever get to rest easy.

But, with some luck and accumulated privilege, putting in the work now does make it easier to create the sort of optionality that enables us to direct that hard work onto areas that feel less like work and more like play.

The law of painful progress

I had a realization when I was learning how to play the guitar – if my practice sessions didn’t have me wincing in pain, I wasn’t making enough progress.

This realization served me well in the 8 months I took lessons as I made faster progress than I had initially expected. The results were evident too – weeks when my practice sessions were more painful always yielded more progress.

The law applies to every skill, of course. The more we feel the pain, the more we’re likely making progress. There is no painless progress.