If it were easy everyone would do it

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.” — Tom Hanks (in ‘A League Of Their Own’)

A male friend once griped about the difficulty of meeting and dating quality women he was attracted to. Much like Tom Hank’s character in that infamous baseball movie, I replied that meeting people during the day and nighttime in person is supposed to be difficult. If it were easy everyone would do it.

Nothing epitomises this more than online dating apps. Out of all the methods to meet people to date, online dating’s convenience factor appears hard to turn down. What could be easier than swiping on your phone, going through dozens of potential matches in minutes, and even having an algorithm pair you with your ideal partner? Who needs to go out when you can do all of that in the comfort of your pyjamas at home?

Except that’s not how most people view the world of online dating. It’s because online dating’s core offer (dates with next to no effort) appeared so easy to obtain that everyone and their grandma started doing it. This flooded the market with a user base unanticipated compared to the halcyon days of the swipe apps. The system’s dynamic in the field widespread changed resulting in fewer appealing opportunities than the marketers would have you believe with polls indicating people dislike online dating more than ever. Ease of no effort has led to over-saturation which has led to worsening value for the average customer.

If It Were Easy Everyone Would Do It Quote

Or take any worthwhile vocation. For a job to have meaning, it needs to have hurdles to overcome in the pursuit of greater gain for yourself, your team and your client base whose lives you’re looking to improve. That means you need to face at least some challenges in the position to thrive.

This is why people do things like spend tens if not hundreds of thousands on academic degrees, work on their ‘soft skills’, and compete on the job market for open positions. It makes them and the labour market better plus means more to each candidate if they get a position. We cherish that which we strive hard to attain more than if it’s gifted to us on a plate.

On an actual job itself, the work shouldn’t be too easy. Much research in the field of psychology over the past few decades has gone into the concept of flow, the state of being so immersed in an activity, you’re ‘in the zone’ for optimal performance and a frame of mind conducive to happiness. This incredible state of being isn’t accessed when things are easy—as pioneering researcher behind flow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi advises:

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… the best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.

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If you never worked in a job that required a degree of effort and creativity, you’d be going through the motions disengaged and unfulfilled. Again, if it were easy everyone would do it.

Hearing that something is supposed to be difficult because if it were easy everyone would do it is not an answer that most people want to acknowledge. So many of us are fixated on looking for the easy way out. To stay inside the safety blanket of our comfort zones where possible. But working smart doesn’t mean shirking meaningful challenges. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

As entrepreneur founder of GoDaddy and philanthropist Bob Parsons once remarked (paraphrasing), if it were easy everyone would do it and you wouldn’t have an opportunity. As the old saying goes, chance favours the prepared mind. Opportunities present themselves to those who’ve honed their skillset and foresight to be ready to take advantage of them. If opportunities were so readily available to anyone, they’d have long been seized by those in positions of power before you’d have a chance to capitalise.

So next time you’re wishing that something is easier so you don’t have to make an effort or you’re on the verge of complaining about how hard it is, remember the phrase “If it were easy everyone would do it”. The struggle is what allows you to have opportunities, to grow, to shine.

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It’s all too easy to shy away from difficult challenges in life. Our natural tendency is to make everything as easy as possible, to glide through life carefree.

Yet the path to betterment is often counterintuitive. And our yearning to make everything easier can in fact hinder us in the long run. If instead we welcome meaningful challenges, embrace the struggle towards improvement, and understand that those tests are what make us stronger, the hard becomes “great”.

Whether in finding quality people to date, scoring your ideal job, or any other life endeavour, if it were easy everyone would do it and ‘it’ would have next to no value. And without any effort you wouldn’t appreciate it.

So see challenges as a chance to improve and to make the very activity you’re doing better as well. Not everyone does what you do and that’s a good thing.