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January 03, 2012



Great post, as always.

I like that you'e made a list of these things. It's hugely valuable to differentiate between things that come easily to us and things that don't. It makes us aware of the difference and lets us feel it. There certainly is a big difference between trying to improve at what naturally comes to us, and trying to do something we seem to have little aptitude for.

In 10 years of practicing law, I learned to be very precise with words. On my desk at all times were huge sections of defined terms and a big legal dictionary. That's what makes me care so much about words I use and how I use them.

Long ago, I decided to be very selective about my use of the words "difficult" and "hard" as it applies to me. I prefer to think in terms of how much effort I'm going to put into something to get it done, rather than whether it's "hard" or "difficult" for me. Some might say it's a matter of semantics. To me, it guides my thoughts and actions, so it's a lot more than that.

There's a marine named Keith Zeier who ran 100 miles to raise money for wounded warriors - with a huge amount of shrapnel embedded throughout his leg. To me, that's difficult. That's hard. There's a man named Nick Vujicic who was born with no legs and no arms. But he can play golf and surf and stay happy and make others happy. To me, that's difficult. That's hard.

I think about Keith and Nick every day. To me, whatever I'm doing, it's not difficult, and it's not hard. Some of what I do comes easily, and some of it doesn't. How much effort am I going to have to put into this to get it done? What am I going to have to learn to pull this off? Those are the questions I ask myself.

Then I think about what I do have: And it's a lot. It's hard to imagine how I could have lucked out more. So, I figure, I'll leave "difficult" and "hard" to people for whom life really is, compared to me, and I'll use other words.

I have a long list like yours. I hope your readers will make one too.

Wondering what you think.


I love the courage it takes to live everyday life. Your list above and mine are filled with the things in life that make you feel alive. It is those moments when our character is being refined and clarity about who we are and what we believe comes.

It's a marathon as you say Whitney! I can't speak for everyone, but keeping in that analogy, I didn't think I could make it this far and I am constantly impressed with the fact that I'm still running!

Difficult or not - life's about proving to yourself that YOU CAN do it!

Loved the post!

Heather Burke

I like this word: duality. To me this is a difficulty. Recognizing that a thing can have value, even if it's not perfect. A simple concept, and not sure why it is so hard to swallow. I've been thinking about this for years..and have yet to come to terms! Perhaps a segue-way into forgiveness..

Thank you for being so open and generous!

I think "difficult" for me is defined by that thing's proximity to my greatest weakness. Sometimes I overcome that particular weakness and so the difficult thing becomes "less difficult" or even easy. But there's always another weakness waiting in the wing ready to step into the "greatest" spot, and there are always challenges that touch that new weakness.

I think Liz nailed it on the head for me.

Also just accepting that life is just messy, and always will be, can be a challenge for me. I think sometimes I've been in the mode of thinking that that "one more step" will somehow make things easier, but there is always a new challenge around the corner. So I'm trying to embrace the challenges more, and try to work with them and learn from them and in them, rather than wishing them away.

I loved the imagery of being under construction but still letting people in. Difficult is letting go of those crutches that you desperately cling to because you feel you can't walk without them but in truth they are keeping you from dancing.

"A thing can have value even if it's not perfect." -- says Elizabeth. I say I believe that, but do I?

And yes, the accepting life will always be messy.. order is not just around the corner say Liz and Michelle. Just around the corner is a new mess on which to practice...

Welcome Heather to the blog.. and Susan, you have an interesting way of reframing ideas. Is something really difficult, or requires effort? It's an interesting exercise to try and distinguish between the two.

Much appreciation to each of you -


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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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