When you were little, did your parents make you eat your greens? Did they, through a combination of deception, persuasion and coercion make you eat you peas, sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower?
Why did they do that? Why?
Why would a loving, caring parent FORCE their children, against their will, to eat something that they really don’t like? Why would they go to the trouble of mashing the broccoli into the potato just to deceive you into eating it? Why would they suffer the nightly arguments?
The answer is simple: Because they loved you and knew that vegetables were good for you. And now that we’ve grown up and matured a bit, we realise that they were right all along.
It’s an undeniable fact of life that a lot of what we need, the things that are good for us, are often less pleasant that those we’d rather be doing. Working out in the gym (especially on leg day) is not as nice as binge-watching Netflix for a few hours. A spinach and kale smoothie (can anyone actually make those smooth?) is not as nice as a McDonalds banana shake.
But over the long term, from which will we reap the greatest benefit?
David Goggins*, the ex US Navy Seal, has a simple and unvarnished view on this: Do something every day that sucks. Get up early to run or work out. Write 1,000 words before 6am, Push yourself harder than you thought you could. In his inimitable words “Embrace the suck!”
A little comfort is good. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat. But for long term self-improvement, we need to make a regular habit of doing those things that are (metaphorically speaking) eating our greens.
*If you’re not familiar with David Goggins, check out Joe Rogan’s podcast with him here. As you’d expect from a former sailor though, his language is a little ripe!