Sorry, this is is supposed to be hard.

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written by oz chen

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My joy is breaking down concepts so they feel easier for people.

That’s why I started UXBeginner to teach people product design.
That’s why I write about personal finance and investing.

In my pursuit of making things easy, there’s one thing I don’t talk about as much…

Things are hard.
Money, investing, financial independence…
All these things I love to talk about, can be hard.

Take investing.

Beating the market is hard.
Most investing professionals fail to beat the stock market index of 8-10% a year.
If beating the market was easy, then everyone would do it.

And what about financial independence?

This takes having an extremely high savings rate (50%+ of paycheck)
Then investing that money consistently over many years
And making some personal sacrifices.

Anybody could become rich, but few will.

My job is to take what is perceived to be hard about investing and money…
And simplify it so that people are encouraged – not scared – to build their wealth
But I don’t want to lie that taking action and staying consistent is easy.

Because it’s hard.


The military has a saying: “Embrace the Suck”
If you accept the fact that something is hard,
Then you’ve prepared mentally to take on challenges.

On the contrary, resistance makes things harder than necessary.

If your expectation is that something hard should be easy,
Requiring little work to get instant results…
Then you’re in for a reckoning.

You might be reading this and have counterpoints.
I know what you’re thinking:
things don’t have to be hard.

And you’d be right too.

“What if this were easier?”

I had a debate with Drew Stegmaier, a writer & philosopher friend.
He made a good point that expecting things to be hard is does not feel like “big manifestation” energy.
Why do something the hard way if it could be easier?

Asking what if this were easier? Is an amazing question and should be asked more often.

We should not do things just because they’re hard—that leads to inefficiency.
Nor should we should avoid doing things just because they’re hard—that leads to fragility.

A model emerged in my mind: embrace things that are inherently hard; catch yourself avoiding or doing things just because they’re hard.

But there’s an even clearer model:

What is worth doing?

The one question that cuts through all the noise is to ask:
“What is worth doing?”

Something that’s worth doing,
Means that it’s inherently valuable to you.
Now here comes the hard part—

Defining what is valuable to you.

How valuable is it to become financially free?
To start a side hustle for extra income?
Or…how valuable is it to just relax?

Values are hard, especially when others project their values onto us.

But this feels like the work that’s necessary to answer the existential question*, which I’ll end with.

What mountain is worth climbing?

*Credit James Clear’s post

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