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Most current productivity literature talks about “tackling” the hardest thing first. That’s a nice idea for those of us whose personalities love the adrenaline rush of clutching our way to the top of the mountain, or lifting that heavy weight and feeling the burrrrrn. But what about the rest of us? Not all of us want to jump out of planes, no matter how “good it is to do things outside our comfort zone,” but we still want to succeed.

When I took a birthday trapeze lesson 2 years ago, I was terrified. My heart pounded as I climbed the bendy ladder 30 feet high, the adrenaline coursed through my veins as I wobbled inelegantly onto the suspended ledge, and I could barely breathe as the guy had to basically push me off. I screamed so loudly they asked if I was okay- apparently others handle it with much more aplomb. Yes, I was ok- I was still alive and I had accomplished a dream. But the stress was beyond my enjoyment level and I did not return. We do acclimate to things, but we must feel we will be able to handle the difficult process. I did not become a trapeze artist (I chose to study other forms of acrobatics only half as far from the ground 🙂

It’s good to aim for greatness and to try hard. We can do it lovingly or aggressively. Between smartphones, advertisements, Facebook, jobs and life, many of us are in a state of distracted overwhelm which does not typically lead to clutter-free connection. When we try to force ourselves to accomplish something, we often 1. Resist. 2. Fail. 3. Lose Hope. 4. Avoid. This avoidance can then hurt us further.

Try this experiment: instead of forcing yourself to do something that every part of you wants to avoid, look for the easiest thing and do it right away. Rinse and repeat until you complete all the easy stuff, then turn to the harder things. You’ll have more dopamine from completing tasks, which will give you greater gumption to succeed in the harder things. When we set ourselves up to win, we just might.

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