Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Too Easy

It's not hard to fall into the trap of thinking that people always want things easy. Easy money, easy grades, easy everything.

So we go all out to help make things easy for them. We give them crutches, wheelchairs, cars, get-rich-quick schemes, affirmative action policies, a secret leg up in exams - whatever it takes for them to complete the race of life - and expect them to perform exponentially better as a result. And the funny thing is that we think we're doing them a favor.

But perhaps what we've forgotten is the fact that there are rarely any successes without a struggle. We forget that a marathon only yields gratification after those 30-km breakdowns, after those moments of stopping and wheezing desperately by the pavement, after those times when the ambulance seems a far more tempting proposition than the finish line.

We forget that passengers in leisurely 42-km car rides don't really win marathons.

I'm inclined to think that while, on the surface, the prospect of an easy win is always tempting - we're innately engineered to embrace challenges. After all, this is the paradox: the easier something is for you, the easier it will be for you to be lulled into complacency - and the less likely you will be to work on the said task or competency, to slug it out day by day, to finetune it to mastery. Contrary to that, I'd like to believe that hurdles and difficulties motivate people to rise to the challenge.

If I've seemed to be rather frustrated in some of my more recent posts, it's because I am. Someone asked me today, "Is anything troubling you?" I said nothing out of politeness. But really, if I'd spoken my mind, I'd probably have said: please return my hurdles to me.


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

Disagree with you to a point.
People don't like challenges. It's one of our deep seeded natural instincts to follow the basic principles of action; it being the exchange of one state of affairs for the next and we will always choose that which we perceive will benefit us the most, for the least amount of exchange or work. If the opportunity cost of a potential choice is greater than what we perceive to be the reward, then we just won't do it.
We don't do things for the sake of doing them. We do them because they will benefit us in some way. That's what makes people the boring hypocritical sods that we really are.
Not to say that this is a good thing. And yes, I'm disinspired. :P

Hannah Khaw said...

Jack: I think we're coming from pretty different perspectives - I have a back story to this post (that I can't quite write about), which has made me see things the way I do.

And in any case, I think that people tend to look not just for extrinsic rewards in their work - but also for intrinsic rewards that often can't be obtained easily (satisfaction, fulfillment, the feeling of a job well done with integrity, etc).

But to a certain extent, I also do see your point. :)

E-Tan said...

When personalities differ,
The way things are see...
Change lots!

My, my, I can agree and disagree 100% with this! Thankstomyconfusingpersonalitypffft