Why is it Tough?

Some tasks are tough because they’re tough. No matter how many times you assemble a 2,000 piece puzzle, it’s not easy.

Prepping a space shuttle for launch is always tough. So is running a marathon (physically).

Other tasks are tough because they’re new. On your first international flight, the jet lag can be debilitating, but regular travelers get over it faster.

The first big snow in November, no one seems to know how to drive; they figure it out pretty quickly, though. Developing a practice regimen, starting high school, reading a novel: all tough at first. (Interestingly, it seems that the mental effort of running a marathon fall in this category, even as it stays tough physically.)

Finally, there are the tasks that are tough for individuals. For me, speaking in front of a group is always tough. For you, it might be an algebra problem, or baking bread, or playing poker.

When something is tough, it’s vital to recognize what kind of tough it is. Is it always going to be hard, or is it going to get easier, or will it just always be hard for me?

There is value in living these tough experiences – even the ones that are easier for other people. But knowing which kind of tough it is will go a long way towards helping you navigate your way through it.