There’s a great quote by Jerzy Gregorek that I find myself going back to time and time again, often several times a day.
“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”
Seems backwards… after all making hard choices is harder and making easy choices is easier… right??
But when you dig a little deeper, the brilliance of it shines through.
It’s closely related to the concept of 2nd order consequences. That is, an easy choice might have the immediate consequence of making us feel good, but the 2nd order consequence isn’t as pleasant.
Like if you overeat, it may be great while you’re doing it, but soon after it won’t be so pleasant.
That’s an obvious one, but sometimes bad choices take a while to compound into something nasty.
When you make easy choices that aren’t helpful you’re basically building up debt that you’ll pay for later… and not necessarily from your bank account.
And sometimes it’s gradual enough that you don’t notice it at first. It sneaks up on you.
For instance, let’s say you don’t massively overeat. Let’s say you simply choose to have a donut for breakfast or watch TV rather than work out – if you look at the results of that one singular event – it doesn’t make much difference.
That’s why we do it! It feels good, and the consequence is so small you can barely notice it.
But when you repeat that decision again and again, that debt compounds. One donut becomes two. One sluggish afternoon becomes two… then three… then thirty. And before you know it, your life just got a whole lot harder.
Hard choices aren’t necessarily hard because they’re difficult but because the alternative is more pleasurable in the moment. The key is realizing that small things repeated make a big difference.
Once you develop habits around the “hard” choices, they really aren’t that hard at all. In fact, it’s much easier to have a disciplined routine than it is to constantly struggle with yourself.
It takes a bit of momentum to really get going, and that initial inertia is what stops most people. Breaking through that initial phase before the habit is formed is what takes a bit of will power and self-discipline.
But once you break through… once you’ve got the momentum in your favor, you’ll change your life.
Try it out for yourself today…
Whenever you’re trying to decide what to do next, just think to yourself “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life” and then make your decision based on what you think will, when repeated, make for your best future.
Be kind to your future self. Do the little things. Make the small choices that get your closer to where you want to be.
Do that enough, and your life may never be the same again.