What is the thing that’s most worth struggling for?
For some people, like those in the cartoon world of Disney’s Mulan, it’s a girl.
For some people, it’s travel around the world and the spectacle of standing on a beach at sunrise with friends who make you smile.
For some people, it’s the chance to become better at an important hobby, skill or craft.
For some people, it’s the opportunity to be a good doctor who doesn’t kill patients through malpractice.
Life involves effort. Why must this be so? Why is there no option to stop the exertion yet still be wildly successful?
This can’t happen because it’s a contradiction. You can’t be satisfyingly successful without the tough input that goes into making it happen.
Simply put, no struggle means no achievement. And if something doesn’t take work, it’s not all that satisfying in the end because anyone could have done it.
In fact, the toughest things in life are often the most rewarding because of two reasons. Firstly, the glow of having conquered insurmountable odds is something to be relished in. It feels great to know you’ve done something difficult, because it shows you had what it took to defeat the enemy.
Secondly, that which is correlated with a high cost is frequently that way because the benefit is accordingly high. There could have been countless game characters who walked off and did something utterly mundane. Think of Harvest Moon. Farming might be glamorous to some, but it sure seems like a drag to most. Yet, only Link, Mario and a handful of crazy protagonists like that have made it into the leagues of fame. This is because while everyone else knocked off the easy challenges, all that was left for them were the toughest ones that involved princesses and castles. When everyone else is off doing easy things, the easy becomes common. What’s left to rise above the rest is, by comparison, hard and that’s what makes it all the more spectacular.
It takes work to do things and do them well. This is because there are so many ways life events can go wrong but far fewer ways in which they can go right. That’s why it takes organisation, effort and struggle to sort items in their correct places and to put toys back into the right box.
There are many ways in which you could provide bad management to a patient. You could take a poor history, you could examine them less than thoroughly, you could order the wrong investigations, you could treat them with disrespect, you could act immorally. Yet there’s only one general way in which you would be functioning as a good health care practitioner: by making sure all of these areas were adequately fulfilled.
That’s why there are more possible outcomes in which things fail than in which they succeed. To succeed, a variety of domains have to be met. A whole bunch of conditions have to be fulfilled. Yet, to fail, all it takes is one area falling below the pass mark.
Life and everything important in life is a series of circuits, a complex machine. It’s one where any weak point can cause the entire device to fail, whereas success demands that every part is operating appropriately. This is only one way to do this: work.
If you want to succeed, if you want to live the best life possible, if you want to discover experiences that are rewarding, if you want to win the girl and save the day, you have to invest effort. You have to put in the work.
The beauty of this is that work never fails. Solutions are always possible. If you haven’t found one, you haven’t finished the search yet. As long as you keep trying, you never fail; it’s simply that you haven’t fully succeeded yet. As long as you keep trying, there’s a possibility things will go right. As long as you keep trying, you can achieve your goal.
The only moment you do fail is the moment you stop trying and your fate becomes set. From that time onwards, the world isn’t going to turn in your favour; everything tends towards going wrong, because it’s far easier for things to do that than to go right. Again, there are more ways to fail than to succeed.
Happiness is what people aim for, whether that’s through a contribution to the world or simple self-gratification through riches or reputation, and that takes work. No one owes you that; you have to earn it yourself. You have to take the time, effort and sense of never giving up. You have to take all of that and invest it into sorting things out. That’s how you make things go right; they won’t merely arrange themselves in your favour without you trying.
If you don’t do that, someone else around you will. Then, even by comparison, you’re more prone to fail because others are racing ahead. It’s not enough to say those around you are incompetent colleagues so it excuses you being the same. It means you all lose. If they work hard and you don’t, you still lose and you lose even more compared to your peers.
The only solution is to try. Forever. Always. Doing your best to be the best possible person you can.
Life is only ever going to go more wrong, so it’s up to you to take actions to make it right.
You only live once in this world as it is now, regardless of your mystical beliefs, so you might as well do it right.
After all, you might be reincarnated as a snail next time and then you won’t even have legs. It’ll be impossible for you to be a good doctor if you’re a snail with no legs.
- Clear, J. (2018). Entropy: Why Life Always Seems to Get More Complicated. [online] James Clear. Available at: https://jamesclear.com/entropy [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].