What If It's Not So Hard?
When I hear “This is going to be hard”—whether from my clients, my kids, or my own thoughts, that Byron Katie thing in me perks right up. “Are you sure? It's going to be hard? Can you absolutely know that it's true?”
What is it you think will be hard?
Connect to the thing you plan to do, or wish you would do, or keep thinking about doing, or think you should or must do that you also believe will be hard. Notice how it affects you to believe this. What does it do to your energy, your emotional reality, your clarity of thinking in terms of planning or proceeding? Does this belief keep you from beginning, or even from getting the most basic information to open the door of possibility? Do you feel the heaviness and stagnation in that? Could it be the discomfort of putting it off is even greater than the discomfort of whatever hardship you'll have to face when you take action? Or if It's going to be hard applies for you to something that's coming right up, ready or not, does this bring dread, perhaps increasing dread as the clock ticks you closer to the start time?
Remember self-fulfilling prophecy?
The idea of self-fulfilling prophecy, simply put, is that when you predict something will go wrong, you'll behave in ways that ensure it goes wrong. We bring about what we believe will come to be. Good ole Wikipedia offers this example: “When Roxanna falsely believes her marriage will fail, her fears of such failure actually cause the marriage to fail.” So why would poor, doomed Roxanna or anyone predict that anything's going to be hard?
Whose business ...?
Whose business are you in when you're believing something's going to be hard? Remember Katie's principle that any thought is either in my business, someone else's business, or what she terms as God's business. (She says God for her is reality, since what is is, and what is rules—but let's call it the Universe's business.) To my mind, whenever I'm predicting anything—including the difficulty of the coming task, a major project, or that we-must-talk conversation—I'm definitely in the Universe's business. Note that this is a vast realm I'm hardly equipped to manage, so I lose my footing when I go there. Test it for yourself: do you feel solid and capable, never mind powerful, when you're predicting, “This is going to be hard”?
Remember to simply catch yourself.
Of course, things do sometimes seem hard to us, and it's easy enough to slip into predicting that something will be hard. There's no problem here, especially if you catch yourself and simply speak again: Actually, I'm not sure that it's going to be hard. The fact I just said so tells me I'm believing this—and I can't know that's true. The next thing you can do, having caught yourself straying into the Universe's business, is to simply ask yourself, So what is my business here?
Get your what and your how straight.
This topic warrants a whole article in itself, but the gist of it here is that my business is the what and the Universe's business is the how. Do you want to do this thing that you're predicting will be so hard? Then your business is simply the vision—like when you decided to learn how to ride a bike. You could see yourself pedaling the thing and soaring, couldn't you? That's the what. The Universe is in charge of the how, and the how will always reveal itself along the way. The teachers and helpers and vehicles will come. You manage the what: have the vision; hold the vision; move toward the vision. Then watch the how reveal itself. Notice that it always has, unless you gave up first. Whatever you've achieved, you didn't initially know how you would do it; but you had a vision, and you moved toward that vision through researching, procuring equipment, pursuing training, asking for help, developing skills, practicing, countering naysayers, making one more phone call, following intuition, brainstorms, or advice, and so on. You learned the how as you moved toward the what.
Hard? Let reality show you whether it's hard or not, to what degree, for how long. There may be moments of hard that don't last half as long as you imagine if you simply meet them in the now with clear thought and appropriate action—rather than meeting them in your mind in a bleak, overwhelming future full of multiple obstacles all showing up at once, difficulties that take forever to resolve, gaps that need too many resources for you to fill. In reality, unlike in the mind, challenges to meet generally show up one at a time, and they're always manageable now and now and now. Even if they show up in clumps or quick succession, we still take any single appropriate action in a single available moment, then open to the next one. If we can't manage it all ourselves, all the help we need will always show up if we're open. Ever notice you're not that open to help or unexpected solutions when you're sitting around thinking how hard it is?
Note that I'm not saying help or solutions or anything will always show up in the way you imagine. You may find you don't need what you thought you needed. Or your vision may turn on its head and land in a way that shows you a whole array of new, maybe simpler, more doable possibilities. Stay open. Stay most open without the thought that it's going to be hard.
What paradigm are you in?
When we think something's going to be hard, we're usually operating out of some idea that huge effort must be expended to figure it out. For that matter we're operating out of the idea we need to figure it out! We're in doership—falsely believing that it's our efforts that make things happen. We're believing that we'll tackle this hard thing through a long, maddening series of trial-and-error, meticulous research that leaves no stone unturned, a series of dead ends that we'll move through until (with a bit of random luck) we stumble on something that works. We're believing in the arduous process on the long and winding road. What if that's just one paradigm—not the only possibility; not the way it is?
Notice when you're believing you're separate.
In that paradigm, you're also separate. You're floundering alone in a random, indifferent universe that doesn't know your name. You're disconnected from Source. If you have a belief system with any kind of benevolent Higher Power or any concept of being guided, “It's going to be hard” casts you right out of your own belief system. It also posits one part of your life—this thing that's going to be hard—as somehow separate from the rest of your life, where you may feel connected and capable and in harmony.
If you have no Higher Power whatsoever and don't believe in guidance, what about your own past experience? Can you find nothing in your life that came together despite you or beyond your wildest dreams and through more than your best efforts? Have you experienced powerful intuitive hunches, bouts of crazy good luck, beneficial chance encounters? Have you had helpers whose skills and qualities you credited for what you ended up getting from them—professors, realtors, bosses, employees, parents, neighbors? All of that, I call guidance. Call it whatever you will, and notice how it's been operating in your favor your whole life, especially when you open to it.
Want a paradigm shift?
Remember your what and the Universe's how. I invite you to a new way of being in which you have a vision, hold a vision, move toward the vision. Then trust, as you do this, that the how will reveal itself along the way. You can't know whether it will be hard or easy. (Haven't you sometimes thought it would be easy, then every possible glitch, delay, and freak accident came in for the most complicated process ever?) You could even drop defining things in terms of hard or easy. Stay present to what's happening, and life will show you exactly what obstacles you need to move through and around to get to your vision. Sometimes the moving will be effortless and inspired; the help will come swiftly, maybe from unexpected places. Sometimes more may be asked of you, and you'll have to keep working your weak muscles until the process makes them stronger. That's not a problem; it's just life supporting you in building the muscles you don't have and apparently need.
In all of this, you're not separate from Source or from others or from yourself, ever; and this thing you're seeking to do isn't separate from all the other parts of your life and all you've ever done; and all that can come in (help or hindrance) while you're moving toward making it happen isn't separate from the whole process. Trust the process. Trust that you're guided: this alone does away with the whole figure-it-all-out-by-trying-everything model. Trust that the Universe is conspiring in your favor, and any number of marvelous shortcuts and easy answers may present themselves right along with those trickier, still all-for-the-best challenges along the way. I have an inspired client who distills all of this to the phrase Inspired Action.
It's going to be easy.
In Byron Katie's inquiry system, the turnaround involves saying the opposite of your stressful thought and sitting in that new idea for a while, especially by finding concrete, specific ways the new thought could be true. It's going to be hard? It's going to be easy! Think, for your particular dreaded project, of all the evidence you can muster that it could in fact be smooth sailing. Think of all you already know, the book or book title already on hand, the first three people you can think of to talk to, the myriad resources you have, your own excellent learning skills, the freedom you have to follow the trail, and on and on. …
What else could you believe? It's going to be fun. It's going to be fascinating. It's going to be inspiring. It's going to be educational. It's going to be invigorating. It's going to take me to a whole new level. ...
Love & blessings,
Deepak Chopra's Law of Least Effort