Don’t focus on making something easy. Enjoy getting faster.

I was talking to my brother the other day on Facetime. Having just returned from a run, he asked me how it was. Currently we are living in Mexico City, which is at 2500 meters altitude. So I told him it was tough. The air is thin, your lungs feel restricted and your body has to work harder. Having done a lot of runs over the years, I joked about how I was in altitude training and couldn’t wait to get back to Melbourne and run at sea level. I said ‘I am excited as the rewards will pay off and I will finally find it easy’. In a serious tone, he replied ‘it doesn’t get easier, it just gets faster’. (Which is apparently a quote by cyclist and Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond). Since then, I have thought about this a lot. Firstly, how this applies to so many areas of life.

And secondly, why did I want to find it easy?

Paradise - Island with palm tree

Living in Mexico, I am on a mission to improve my Spanish. Everyday I am surrounded by people speaking a language that is not my own. I drive to work listening to Spanish talk back and music on the radio, I sit in meetings with customers and colleagues speaking Spanish, I order coffee, food and beers in Spanish and attempt to build relationships and friendships in Spanish.

This is a constant challenge and I keep telling myself that ‘it will only get easier’.

But after two months here I don’t feel like it has. I still feel like my skills and knowledge are pushed to their extreme just as they were on day one. I experience the same level of discomfort when I feel that I can not portray my true character in this second language. Even though my grasp of Spanish is definitely advancing everyday, I don’t feel any closer to finding my job here easy. And since the conversation with my brother I have been thinking about how the goal of getting to the point of ‘easy’ means I am focussing on the wrong thing.

Mountain reflection

In regards to my Spanish, on day one there was a whole lot of unknown. As little bits of this unknown become clear, I also learn more about what I didn’t know. And so the cycle continues. As I learn more, I speak more, people reply more, the language we start using is more complex and of course both myself and my amigos speak faster. Although in the midst of it, I miss that they are using the subjunctive, I get confused with the verbs and lose track of the conversation. At then at the end of it, all I remember is that it is not easy… yet.

As we develop a new skill the challenges that we take on grow in parallel with this new capacity to achieve them.

Just like when I was telling my brother about how I was excited to run back at sea level and find myself floating free in this fit, sunny world of easy running, I was hoping to achieve the same with my Spanish. Although I do hope to be able to talk and joke and work like I currently do in English, getting to a point of easy should not be my goal.

I use to also look at Haile Gebrselassie and think how he made the marathon look so easy. That compared to how I huffed and puffed my way around the 42km course he just glides around in world record time with ease. But of course he doesn’t. The pain and fatigue that he feels is probably greater and more intense than the average runner. Running never got easier for him, it just got faster.

Haile Gebrselassie

So why would I want to get to easy?

Because then I can relax, do nothing and be content. But I am someone who likes challenges, who likes learning and growing. Why would I want an empty to do list, with no actions for further improvements. I don’t. It is just a default response to focus on things that are currently difficult and how much better life will be when they are easier.

Instead I need to enjoy the process of getting faster. Not focus on reducing the energy that is going into the activity but instead on what is being achieved in the process. The little achievements along the way. Like that last week I finished my first full novel in Spanish, and ran in a 16km Fun Run at an altitude 500m above any mountain in Australia. Both of them were definitely not easy… nor fast. But now I am already onto the next challenges. A new book and a longer run. This to do list will never be clear. The process continues. It doesn’t get easier, it just gets faster.

What I (and you?) got out of blogging every day in March.

Back on the first of March, I decided to take Steve’s challenge to blog something worthwhile every single  day of the month. That is 31 consecutive posts. Some of the posts I was happy with – usually the ones written straight from my mind to the blog at 11pm with little editing – and sometimes I felt like a blog-spammer – almost ashamed to post the words and cringed as I hit the publish button. I admit, that I did take on the challenge for selfish reasons, and not to please the people who actually read my blog. But I am hoping that in the end more people than just myself benefited from the words that I shared.

Back in that first post I wrote what I hoped to get out of the month. I wanted to feel connected, challenged, slightly overwhelmed and empowered. And I actually do think that I ticked all those boxes.


To my environment. To my thoughts. To the constant change in my life. To the other 42 people blogging for the 31 days of March.

Although I had a back up list of possible topics to blog about I actually never used it. I always wrote about experiences that I had or connections that I made during the day. I wrote about having a perfect day in San Franciscothe power of your mind and why it is great to hang out with friends in real life and talk to strangers. Sharing these thoughts made me feel connected.


To share something worthwhile every day. To channel my thoughts into something that doesn’t only sound good in my head. To post at midday, every day, for 31 days.

Although I failed miserably at posting at mid-day I did write a blog everyday and I did feel challenged. Whether this was from writing the blog specifically or just the general challenges that occurred during my everyday life throughout the month of March. I did often find myself saying to people ‘sorry I am late, I had to write my blog’. Many of the posts reflected my thoughts on being challenged. I wrote about how without a mental or physical challenge you will stay exactly as you are, how you feel when you lack motivation, and why you should think about what you have done not what you haven’t.

Slightly overwhelmed

There is a fine balance between being overwhelmed and underwhelmed. Somewhere in between is where energy for great ideas and the momentum to get things done collide. I hope I land there with this challenge.

Writing things down forces you to reflect on what you experience, feel, and think. And which parts of these you are comfortable with and which parts make you feel overwhelmed. I have always thought a lot, but writing everyday clarified a lot of those thoughts. I wrote about feeling confused by my relative work speed, the lack of business evolution and how great it is to take time out, feel proud and tell people how great they are.


To post my thoughts, opinions, beliefs and values out in the public for response, debate and to sit there quietly unread too.

Expressing your honest and independent thoughts can be daunting. But there is something exhilarating about hitting publish on something that you know certain people won’t agree with. I wrote about why I think it is great to wear lycra with the work crowd, move back in with your parents, make up your own mind and bring your care-free travel self to work. They were slightly controversial ideas. And they felt great.

So after 31 days I still like challenges and I still like blogging. I guess that means more of each to come. Sounds good to me.

Thanks for reading. If you did get this far, I would love to know if there was a certain post that resonated with you. Is there something that I wrote that you remember?