A willingness to do the hard thing will set you apart from the average person. As well it will result in you accomplishing things that others tend to avoid. In Evansing, Edwin faced difficult decisions concerning what he felt needed to be shared with King Erith. One of these was when he was convinced Evansing and its allies needed to retreat instead of continuing to do battle.
“Edwin decided he could not wait any longer.
‘Sire, may I please talk to you in private for a moment?’
Erith looked quizzically at Edwin and nodded yes. They then both stepped away from the others some distance so as to not be overheard.
‘Sire, a strong impression came to me about the time you called for a meeting. This impression indicates there has been a shift in the seasons. As you know we have been very much in a charge and advance mode for some time now to unite Ireland. We have used both military and diplomatic maneuverings to achieve that objective. There has been significant success to date. The impression I got most definitely indicated we are now in a consolidate and hold season. As unpalatable as this may seem to you, Sire, I agree with the proposal made to retreat.’
‘Traitor, you are an ungrateful traitor. How could you side with someone who wants to retreat?’ replied Erith.
The vehemence of the response took Edwin by surprise. He had expected a strong negative reaction but not this strong. He could feel a wave come over him as Erith spoke to him. Struggling to maintain his composure, Edwin remained silent for a moment.
‘So do you have anything to say for yourself, Edwin?’ demanded Erith.
‘Sire, this is not based on me deciding all of a sudden we should retreat.’ Edwin’s voice got stronger and indeed firmer as he went. ‘This came upon me on its own. It’s not an attitude I had been harboring beforehand. One moment I am flat out in charge and advance mode. And the next I am getting this strong impression the times had changed. Percival and I have had discussions about the timing of things. About how there are different seasons in life. To do what may be an excellent thing in the wrong season can be disastrous. If we are no longer in a time for us to continue the active pursuit of the uniting of Ireland, then it is time to stop. It is as simple as that. I too am much disappointed by this turn of events.’
Erith had started to calm down, but he remained quite distressed as to what he heard. This dream to unite Ireland had totally possessed him. To now come to the realization it should be put on hold, even for a while, almost devastated Erith. He continued to glare at Edwin but remained silent. Edwin could tell Erith started to come to some sort of terms with what he had heard. At least Erith’s glare had noticeably softened.”
As can be seen above, sharing sensitive information with a superior can be difficult if it is known that it will not be well received. However these are the moments, although fraught with risk, which can represent great opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to whatever organization you belong to. As well often times the person who initially gets upset at receiving unwelcome news may end up respecting the person who shared it. This is because they recognize it was done from a place of integrity and duty.
Winston Churchill seemed to savor the opportunity of looking for difficult assignments. During the Boer War in South Africa he signed on as a journalist to cover the conflict. He ended up being captured after leading the defense of a train being attacked and captured by the Boers. Subsequently he escaped and was wanted dead or alive by the Boers. Then he returned to South Africa to eventually become an officer in a South African cavalry unit and displayed further heroics. Before the Boer War when Churchill had run for political office he had lost. Now as a returning hero he was given the winning election that was previously denied to him. All those hard things he had endured now seemed of no consequence. They launched him to the stratosphere of political office.
A major benefit of doing the hard thing is it builds inner strength. Consequently when we meet difficult challenges in the future we have a new reserve of courage and confidence in handling it. This creates greater ease and higher levels of excellence due to a superior state of mind as we stay calm in the midst of doing what needs to be done. It also develops the discipline for making right choices based on what will produce the best possible outcome, not on simply doing what is easy and expedient. Dennis Waitley in his CD series “Psychology of Winning” quoted the following: “Winners make decisions based on goal achieving rather than tension relieving.”
May you have the willingness to do the hard thing that will advance your life for the long-term, not simply make you feel good in the short-term.