Difficult efforts come in many forms. Addictions, academia, work projects etc. The most difficult efforts involve something that’s quite stressful and uncomfortable. The natural tendency, during such an effort, is to dive right in and hope for the best. Then, before you know it, there is such a big history of failure that your self-esteem ends up almost completely destroyed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things you can do to give yourself the best possible shot at success. 


A skill is measured as something that you can offer in exchange for money. It is vital as a cushion during a difficult effort.

If you are a coder, for example, then you may not be able to win every hackathon, but at the end of the day, you can take comfort in the fact that you do have, at minimum, some basic coding pedigree. Similarly, if you are an addiction therapist, then you may struggle with being a good psychologist overall, but, again, at the end of the day, you can take comfort in your addiction counselling skills.

Skills are the first and most crucial step in getting through any hard effort. They provide a cushion to your self-esteem in a way that nothing else can. 

Thinking during emotion

Humans find it extremely challenging to think during emotions. Ask yourself. The last time you felt like crying, were you making good decisions? Likewise, the last time you felt angry, again, were you making good decisions? Being able to construct a fair or logical thought when you are overcome by emotion is a necessary pre-requisite before attempting any hard effort.

A good starting point for the beginner is to simply name and describe objects in the room. For instance, if you feel really overwhelmed in your bedroom, then start trying to think by analyzing the quality of your mattress. Eventually, your mind will automatically get into a space where it is able to reason through the meat of your situation. 

Personal insights

The ability to say “Hey, you know what? It was hard for me to sit through the effort today. But managing to do so taught me something. that I’ll never forget” is a powerful thing during a hard effort. As you go through the journey, take the time to reflect on your struggle and derive personal insights from it. Insights that you would probably not find in books or movies. Insights that you could patent if there was an insight patent. Your own “punch line” or “dialogue”, if you will. Such insights will strengthen the impact of your effort.

Resolving the question of responsibility

We don’t always cause our situations. There may very well be someone else to blame. However, choosing not to respond to the situation, until you get some relief or until you get an apology, won’t work, I’m afraid, as far as getting through hard effort is concerned.

Before you even stand a chance at a hard effort, make sure you’re good at taking the responsibility to do something about your situation, even if you are not to blame. If you don’t get on top of that, then you’re likely to default to the natural human tendency to let the situation destroy you, while you keep blaming whoever is responsible.

How to do it, you ask? Well, at first do both at the same time. Blame whoever is responsible for 3 hours, and then do something about the situation for 1 hour. Soon, you’ll see that you’re automatically doing less blaming and more doing. Not that there’s anything wrong with blaming. The problem occurs when blaming becomes a reason to never do something. 

Try to make sure you are at least somewhat good at it. Or, get help

The worst thing you can do when attempting a hard effort is absolutely suck at it. That’s just shooting yourself in the foot. Biting off more than you can chew. Asking for trouble. Whatever phrase you want to use. If I decided right now that I’m going to try and become a theoretical physicist or master chess player, then I’m just being an idiot. I suck at those things. Like “suck at it” would be an understatement.

Now, if I absolutely have to do it, then it would be better if I got help in the form of a tutor or something. Whatever hard effort you attempt, try to make sure that you are at least somewhat good at it. Otherwise, get help. Nobody can thinking through unlimited emotion, and unlimited emotion is what you’ll get if you struggle through something that you completely suck at.

That’s it. Those are the 5 ways to prepare for a hard effort. Thank you for reading.