New York City, NY

Should You Choose the Easy or the Hard Path Through Life?

Bill Abbate

Have you ever considered how much both the good and the bad have shaped your life? It begins the minute we are born. In our youth, we are shaped largely by our environment, what happens to us, what we are allowed to do and not do, and how our parents and others treat us.

The shaping of our lives

During these younger years, we learn how to behave. We learn what is considered good and bad, what is acceptable and what is not.

As we mature, we take more control over what is happening in our lives. We make more decisions and gain more independence.

During the early years, we are largely shaped into what we will eventually become. Many of our rough edges are knocked off or ground down, but there is far more life to live and more shaping to occur.

As we reach early adulthood and gain our independence, we find multiple paths on which we can begin to venture. Some of these paths continue shaping who we are. We can choose the easier or harder paths. Which of the paths will shape us more? Certainly not those that are easy. Our choices determine whether school will shape us greatly or hardly at all. Where we choose to work can shape us a great deal or very little. We enter that turning point in life when we must choose the path we wish to walk and how we wish to walk it.

"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." Chinese Proverb

How our lives are polished

We eventually arrive, usually in early adulthood, where our shape becomes most of what it will be, and the polishing begins. We continue to make choices, some of which may have little effect on our lives. Other choices can continue to define us and may polish us relentlessly.

Much of what polishes our lives are longer-term decisions. Things like marriage and our career path are two areas where much polishing is possible. The people we continue to surround ourselves with, how we handle our finances, and whether we keep learning are some of the many others that will continue to polish us. What do you notice all of these areas have in common? Trials!

Marriage, career, learning, relationships, money, and many other things can create trials in our lives that grind or polish us to no end.

How we choose to handle these trials can affect us in different ways. When we do not deal with them well, they can grind us down, wearing us away, eventually leading to where we have little left to grind on and less life to live.

Yet when we persist and overcome these trials, they polish us, make us into a far more perfect gem of a being. Our lives can shine colorfully and brightly. We can find great happiness, fulfillment, and joy in life.

Final thoughts

It is by pushing through and overcoming the trials of life that our best selves begin to show. By taking the more difficult path, we face more challenges and endure more trials that better position us in life in countless ways.

A time comes in every life when we must choose our path and destiny. If you wish to go somewhere, do not choose the easy way. The easy path will challenge you little and take you nowhere.

"If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere." Frank A. Clark (1860-1936)

Choose the hard path instead. When you make this choice, you will face obstacles, difficulties, and trials. The wonderful thing about this path is as you overcome each trial, you gain strength and become more polished.

As you gain strength, you become more resolute and beautiful on the inside. As you become more polished, you shine more brightly, living a fuller life with accomplishments far surpassing those who chose the easy path.

Where are you in your life? Which path do you choose?

You only get one chance at life, so choose wisely!

"A wise person is like a smoothly polished rock: it takes time to become either." Vera Nazarian (1966-present)

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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