“Life is difficult.”

That’s the first sentence of A Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck.  I read the book about 40 years ago and it has stuck with me ever since.  I’ve frequently gifted the book to graduating high school seniors, hoping they will read it and adjust their expectations about what’s ahead in life.

For me, time has proven Peck’s observation true.

Life is difficult because it’s full of complexity.  It has other people in it, and they don’t always do as you wish.

Life is difficult because every meaningful thing comes from striving.  Anything that comes too easy proves to be common and loses value.  What turns out mattering most to us comes with a grind.  Along the way challenges are presented.  How we address them, navigate them and are changed by them makes all the difference.

The fact that life is difficult does not rob us of good things.  There is satisfaction in facing difficult things. There is significance that comes from facing challenge, learning from it and developing a growing competency.

Difficulty signals to you that there is more to do. If you are finding your days to be easy, it’s time to go find a challenge.  Or a challenge will find you.

I’ve learned that “HAPPENING TO THE WORLD” involves seeking difficulty.  Not in a daredevil fashion, but in a courageous way.  Striving to learn.  Striving to acquire skill.  Taking a seldom traveled path to go places most will not go.  That is the way to counter the reality that “life will be difficult.”

Basketball Coach Rick Pitino says: “When you’ve done the work to get ready and then apply pressure to yourself, it brings out the best in you in every step along the way.  That’s the positive momentum that spurs you to excel.”

Prepare.  Put yourself to the test.  Enjoy the fruits of living in a difficult world.