“Doing hard, challenging things is actually a good thing because when you finish it, it makes you feel more capable. “
~Brody Hamilton, Age 8
My crazy, sometimes lazy, and also super bright young son is working on a book study project for school. He’s in second grade and this is his first school project. I kind of love projects and would have been all over this. However, he started it on his own and didn’t ask for help (ok, he did want me to cut out some of the clouds he had drawn too darn curly). He got busy drawing clouds, following the step-by-step instructions, cutting the yarn, and tying the clouds onto the coat hanger.
About two-thirds of the way through the projects, he asked if I liked it. “Doesn’t it look good?”. It really did and I gave him the positive feedback that I also want to hear when I’m working hard. As he continued to cut, write, and tie away, he said to me (and I quote), “Doing hard, challenging things is actually a good thing because when you finish it, it makes you feel more capable. ” What!? Did that actually come out of an eight-year-old mouth!? And my own son’s!? “Who said that?”, I asked. He said, “I just thought it up”. I can’t wait to ask Mrs. DiMaria if she’s been using the word capable a lot recently!
Regardless of where he found the wisdom, I really cannot agree more. Doing hard things, whether we choose to or not, can make us more capable if we don’t quit and give up. Naturally, it easier to take the short-cut or the easy route. Sometimes, we are pressed for time. Sometimes, we don’t want to fail. Sometimes, we are just scared. Sometimes, we are just too lazy. But, isn’t it a great feeling to complete something that was hard, that did take a lot of effort, nerve and/or perseverance?
To me, I want the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching a goal. That’s just the way I’m wired. This doesn’t always have to be training for a marathon. It can simply be checking things off a list. But, truly feeling capable, now that is different. Capable is defined as : having power and ability; efficient; competent. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! Accomplishing hard things does give us power. Growing our skills, whatever they may be, or stretching out of our comfort zone in order to accomplish something is definitely going to make us feel good. But, better yet, it makes us more capable.
I want my children to feel capable. I myself want to feel capable. Sometimes I don’t, but doing hard things just might steer me in that direction. So, tonight, and tomorrow, let’s try hard things. Let’s finish what we started. Or, let’s just get started! Doing hard things is hard but it definitely won’t lead us away from a more purposeful, satisfying, and capable life.