Doing the right thing is hard. It's often easier to do nothing at all. We make these kinds of decisions dozens of times per day. It is constant and it is exhausting. It can feel safer not to make decisions at all and to just let life happen. I'm going to try and convince you why that is a bad idea.
Heads up, this post is going to focus on how stoicism can make your life better. If that isn't your jam, feel free to check out now.
You might be familiar with the song Life is a Rollercoaster by Irish musician Ronan Keating. It's a banger, filled with terrible advice. In it, he says "Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it." Unless you want to be a passenger in your own life, I suggest you ignore him.
Before we go any further, let's acknowledge a few universal truths. Firstly, life is hard. It's supposed to be that way. We're upright hairless apes, clinging on to a spinning rock that is hurtling through space. That is never going to be easy. Secondly, no matter what, there is going to be some amount of discomfort and pain in life. That goes hand in hand with life being hard.
Now, let's get back to decisions. We know that life is hard and that discomfort and pain are inevitable, so let's use that to our advantage. Most decisions in life have a pretty obvious "right" choice. Should you start going to the gym or should you stay at home and watch Netflix? Should you start that project you have been meaning to do or do you instead put on another Youtube video?
Generally speaking, you know what the "right" decision is. It's going to the gym and starting that project. But if you don't think too hard about it, it is also a difficult choice. Going to the gym will be uncomfortable. Starting the project? Hard work ahead! Yet, if you dig a bit deeper. Not hitting the gym is discomfort too, it just looms later in life. It's that unsettling feeling when you look back and ask yourself if you've truly achieved your aspirations. If pain is inevitable either way, why not opt for the discomfort that has a purpose?
If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this:
Pain and discomfort are part of life. Choose the pain that moves your life in the direction you want, don't trick yourself into accepting the pain of a mediocre life.
This article is heavily inspired by the YouTube video of the same name. I've thought about it regularly since I first watched it and wanted to interpret and share what I learned from it in my own words.