4 Things That You Don’t Think Should Require Effort, But Actually Do


There are certain things that we believe should come to us without trying. We believe that if we put effort into them the result is poisoned.

If you have to try then it wasn’t meant to be.

Usually things happen in precisely the opposite order. To think that you will be more awake after a gym session than relaxing isn’t what we usually want to hear. It’s the truth, though.

This girl I know has sprezzatura tattooed on her foot. It means, “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.” It’s like Olympic athletes that are simultaneously the most graceful and powerful persons you’ve ever seen.

The trick about sprezzatura is in the hidden effort. Just because there doesn’t appear to be any effort it doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Effortlessness is difficult to achieve.

Because we love the outcome of effortlessness we are afraid to show any effort at all. We think that we’ve lost as soon as we’ve tried. That’s not the case, though. Not at all.

I fell in love with the girl with the tattoo a while ago – today I fell in love a little more, because I tried. Speaking of:

1. Love.

I don’t know if it’s princess culture or some weird remnant of Free Love but there is this idea that your relationship should just click and then it’s Happy Ever After and credits roll and you frolic until you die.

Except that’s not what happens at all. You take her/him for granted. The things that were cute are starting to get annoying.

In order to appreciate someone more you have to do it on purpose. You have to try. Notice the little things you love. Do something you haven’t done for them in a while. A one-sided relationship doesn’t make it as hard for the giver as the receiver.

2. Passion.

We think that if we don’t have some grand passion right now then we’re screwed. We think we have to go out and find the thing. It’s out there buried in a desert by a cruel god who is laughing at us while we wallow in our own mediocrity of not caring enough.

This magical mindset of “finding” your passion has been popular for forty-something thanks to What Color Is Your Parachute? and a generation of men miserable in their jobs.

It turns out that, more often than not, passion is created. You don’t need to find your passion – you need to develop it. How?

Through applying amazing amounts of effort. It’s about getting really good at some skill and then using that skill to make the world better. It’s about serving the world through your work instead of serving yourself (and receiving instant passion).

The more we focused on loving what we do, the less we ended up loving it. Cal Newport

3. Energy.

There are times when it seems like I have all the energy in the world. Some of it comes from eating well and getting enough sleep but most of it comes from doing shit. It’s impossible to be lethargic when there are things you need to get done. Another hour on the couch or computer won’t give you the energy boost you need. You’ll get the energy when you start expelling energy.

Going to the gym is one of the best ways to stop feeling like a sloth. You have to get out of bed before you want to get out of bed. The push creates the pull.

4. Inspiration.

One of the most demotivating things you can do is scroll through countless motivational images online. We think that authors just have so many ideas because they were born with a better brain. We think we don’t have business ideas because we just weren’t meant to. We think we don’t want to do anything because nothing is worth doing.

Bullshit all the way around.

The reason you don’t have any ideas for stories is because you’ve never dedicated yourself to coming up with story ideas. You’ve had a good business idea because you’ve never tried.

The only way to be inspired is to sit down and pour out effort every day. It takes me a month before I start to consistently get inspired in any certain direction. You have to sit and write or work and try to do what you cannot do. You have to do the thing poorly until you can do it well.

It’s not pretty, but it’s what we all have to do. Stephen King on the Muse:

There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.

featured image – Unsplash / Davide Ragusa