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Posted By Ted Baumhauer

A lot has happened since June and my last blog posting. My weekly foray into improv came to an end late in July. Reflecting on the experience as a Village Idiot reminded me of the two types of hard. We all do what is hard and difficult sometimes and I think those difficult experiences come in two varieties.  

To figure it out the question is “how is it hard?”

 The Hard Way #1: The new skill just isn’t your thing. These are the times you find yourself playing to your weak suit in your personality or interests. Sometimes we even try to turn a weakness into a strength.  Isn’t that a job interview tactic, to explain how you did it?  Actually spending your time on this is a waste of time, on top of being really frustrating (read Now Discover Your Strengths). The point is that your time is better spent developing your weaknesses only to the point that they don’t detract from your strengths.

The Hard Way #2: You are engaging your natural interests and find the new task somehow interesting on top of being difficult. It is much easier for you to get up for this type of challenge because you actually like it. For example, a couple of years ago I was teaching a workshop in the Southern Tier of NY and one of the participants said he didn’t like to work hard. He looked likean outdoorsman so I asked him if he hunted. He loved hunting turkey. If you know anything about turkey hunting you know he spent hours Turkey getting his equipment ready. He got up before the crack of dawn to get dressed, getting his camouflage on just right, driving and hiking to his predetermined hiding spot. He in position ready to go before the sun came up. Then he patiently called the turkeys in to get a chance for one good shot. In other words he worked his butt off at something he really liked but he didn’t think of it as work. And it wasn’t to him. 
That’s the point. When we find those skills and talents the real challenge is to push ourselves in that direction. We can take on these type of challenges long after everyone else gives up in frustration because we enjoy it!  This is where we find our true potential, where we come the closest to being our best selves.
What I’ve noticed though, over the years, is that we sometimes diminish what comes easy for us as if to say “If I can do it anyone can. ” Well, that’s not true!" Each of us has unique gifts not everyone uses them.

Harry Chapin described two kinds of tired. One is when you’ve worked all day for someone else, the other is when you’ve worked all day for yourself. A good day of the former isn’t as good as a bad day of the later.  That's important when you lay your head down on the pillow at night to sleep.

What are your unique skills and talents? If you truly don’t know, spend some time to find out what they are and do it soon! Use and develop those skills as much as possible. Like Harry said, you will find doing this type of hard work satisfies your soul.



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Ted Baumhauer


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