Why the Most Difficult Route isn’t the Best Route

There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy. – Anonymous

Thanks for that depressing bit of advice anonymous! It must mean that the hardest path has great rewards, right?

Or maybe the only reward is that it’s hard?

Or character building?


Are we really going to sit around judging our choices based on effort? Wouldn’t we better judge based on the merit of the path or its alignment with our values and dreams? What happened to following the middle path?

If a life of leisure is its own reward, what are we waiting for? Who is handing out these effort rewards anyway? Is there a Bureau of Challenging Paths that dispenses commendations?

Work hard and you’ll do fine.

Good advice, but does this hold true to scale? If hard work yields results, then the hardest work must yield the best results, right?


Just because hard work can be fruitful, the hardest possible road is not the best simply because of the effort required.

Give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack.

There are more than two paths. Several of them could lead to your dream, and their only reward will be chasing the dream. At least one path is difficult, and its only reward may be exhaustion.

Avoid the easy path if it runs counter to your values, goals and passions.

Avoid the difficult path if the only reason you are taking it is to appear stoic and virtuous. Who needs pain for pain’s sake?


2 thoughts on “Why the Most Difficult Route isn’t the Best Route

  1. It’s easy to forget this and simply work like a mad animal. Of course, the reward can be great, but it can also lead you to burning out and getting sick.

    I worked hard for a few weeks and I got pneumonia.

  2. Hey Jack, I was following your story on that. It’s crazy how much messaging we get growing up telling us to work hard and suck it up, that the easy way out is dishonorable and immoral. It took me a long time to recover from burnout 2009, official worst year of my life. Now, leisure and simplicity just feel like the saner approach to chasing dreams.

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