Struggle is Growth

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity (and responsibility) to speak to thousands of people about change, challenge, resilience, self-care and productivity.

All are inextricably linked. 

Change means Challenge because our brain likes routine. It has evolved by design to automate anything we do frequently to reduce mental effort. So it resists anything that increases cognitive load.

Resilience is our innately human ability to adapt to change.

Practices that increase our resilience are overwhelmingly similar to those that improve our wellbeing. 

Therefore self-care is a key enabler for resilience, adaptiveness and ultimately learning.

Finally, our ability to work and live productively works hand-in-hand with our capacity to learn – to automate the routine and reduce cognitive load Then our brain can do what it has evolved to do – problem solve and create.

Yes, I believe productivity can apply to life, not just work. Productivity is simply delivering high value with minimal effort and stress. Productive people use ‘lazy thinking’. They ask ‘How can I expend less energy for more value?’

We’re under increased cognitive load right now. Our environment has changed. Our brain is learning to do the same things in new surroundings. Even without changes in workload, it must work harder to do the same tasks. 

The good news is that every time you feel pain from any challenge – physical or mental – it is a clear signal that you’re on the path to growth.

Because between every ‘current you’ and every ‘new you’ lies change and struggle. To grow, you must undergo physical changes – to either body or mind. You are training to be stronger or better.

You have a 100% record. You have survived every challenge you’ve faced.

And now is the time.

The time to ask, ‘what new character is waiting at the end of that path?’

‘When I look back in 6 months, what do I want to say about myself?’

‘Which path do I want to take’?

The time to ask – unashamedly – ‘how can I make the path as clear, as attractive and as automatic as possible so that first, I choose it and second, I stay the course.

And the final question, ‘If not now, when?’