Stop Confusing Hate with Difficult & Easy With Likable

The way you choose words is important when identifying behavior, especially when adding positive habits and eliminating lackluster ones. It goes further and becomes a source of resistance when we misidentify easy behavior as likable and difficult behavior as something we hate. 

Webster's dictionary states the meaning of hate as: To dislike greatly; to have a great aversion to.

This likely meets your recollection of the meaning behind hate, but the confusion lies in how we use it, not its definition. The word is used far too charitably today. So much so that we've muddied the definition. The things we hate have become miscategorized, and what was once difficult or unpleasant has been absorbed by hate. Wildly different terms entangled together in order to protect our Ego. 

You don't hate studying; it's challenging. 

You don't hate exercise; it's hard.

You don't hate a clean diet; it's difficult. 

If you're a lover of exercise, it's easy to see the value and difficult to see why anyone would hate it, but how often do you use the word hate without seeing something through yourself? It may not be exercise, but there is something... Next time you think you hate something, try it out long enough to form a complete and personal assessment of it. 

Of course, not all difficult things are great for us. Still, the fallacy arises when we misidentify opportunities for improvement in the short term to disguise them with hate which becomes devastating in the long term. 

What is more dangerous is our inclination to like things that come easily and of little energy expenditure to us. You may love great cinematic releases, but do you truly enjoy watching Netflix every night? 

Your inclination... Yes. 


Because it's relaxing? 

That, it is! But let's dig deeper because easy is great at camouflaging itself as likable. Not only that, but most things that we do because they're easy, we also actually do like them... the essential differentiator then becomes: Do we like how much time we spend on the activity? Because we tend to spend a lot of our time on easy things, it's worthwhile to be sure. Ask yourself this:

In one to five years, will you look back on all the nights you spent doing that activity with joy? 

What about if your best friend used that same time to build a business? Although it may not have been easy, it would be equally fun over the long term. Or what if a friend spent the time exercising and transforming their body and fitness level. Would you hold the same answer? 

The point is all of those things provide you with different levels of joy. One of them is tremendously easier than the others, but the value diminishes with time. It's up to you to define the value of your various activities over the long term but only once clarified can you make proactive choices you're content with. Regret is not easy and definitely not likable.

I used to 'hate' writing

A perfect example of our misidentification of these terms is in my own story of writing. In school, I hated writing. I loathed school projects that involved research reports or essays, especially if the word count was high. Word count was everything. This aversion stayed with me all the way up until college. 

At the same time, I loved to learn, and I loved to read. This thirst for knowledge had me reading nonfiction continuously from the age of 16 onward, but after years of reading, I realized something. I wasn't retaining any information I learned. 95% of what I had read across 10 years was gone. This was disheartening and weakened my interest in learning because what was it all for? As a fix, I start reading material on best practices to retain knowledge. I quickly learned that if I wrote about what I was learning, I could retain more. Further, if I elaborated on and engaged with the knowledge, I could store it and make stronger connections between knowledge points. So I began writing and notetaking. This new perspective fueled my interest in writing long enough to see its value to my life. Once I saw its value, I started to love it. Fast forward 3 years, and I have my own blog... 

I still find writing extremely difficult. I have yet to find excitement to sit down and write, but I know that I'm very excited to have sat down and written at the end of the day. Knowing this makes all the difference. I don't hate writing, and I never have; I've just found it incredibly hard, so I never gave it a fair shake. 

What you can do now

I've found this graph useful to imagine whenever categorizing behaviors. The marked points represent my own perception of those behaviors but may not be yours. I get the sense that everybody's graph would look somewhat similar but perhaps not. This is not something you have to write out; imagination works fine; however, I found it a fun exercise to write out in a journal. 

Here are some guidelines to the process: 

From now on, don't be lazy in defining activities and behavior. It pays to clarify how you truly feel about them and live aligned with it. Final note:

Don't confuse difficult with hate and easy with likable. 

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