It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.Seneca

Is this daring? Or  is it difficult? Is that because you're afraid it might turn into a handsome prince, or that you'll get warts?

Is this daring? Or is it difficult? Is that because you’re afraid it might turn into a handsome prince, or that you’ll get warts? Ignorance can be cured!

What does that mean?
This quote tries to differentiate between the things we are afraid to do because they are hard and the things that are hard because we are afraid. I have found this to be the case more often than I would like to admit.

Yes, there are some things which are difficult and therefore we are reluctant to try (triple integral calculus, anyone?), but in my experience, they are fairly rare. At least until you get out to the edges of normalcy.

And to some extent, that very normalcy is the key. To someone who has a PhD in math or physics, and does this kind of stuff on a daily basis, a triple integral isn’t even remotely scary, right? What you are used to, you are willing to dare, because you know all about it.

The things we don’t know are the things that become difficult because our imaginations tend to exaggerate the risk, both in severity and likelihood. If we can get a handle on that fear, to understand the risk, fear can be greatly diminished, and the act can be undertaken.

Why is being daring, and doing it anyway important?  
Daring to do something with no knowledge of the difficulties or dangers is not bright. But getting a reasonable idea about the difficulties or dangers, formulating a plan, then daring to do the thing, that is how life moves forward, and people learn.

If we never dared, but only worried about the difficulty of things, very little would be accomplished, right? And with accomplishment comes self-esteem and self-confidence. By not daring, by getting nothing accomplished, we end up severely lacking in self-esteem and self-confidence.

Accomplishing things, daring to do them despite some level of risk and some level of difficulty, we build ourselves up. We build the skills needed for the task, we build our ability to learn from experience, and we build our character. Any one of these would be reason enough, in my eyes, to make this a worthwhile exercise. Achieving all three makes it almost mandatory.

Where can I apply this in my life?
I used this example a few days ago, but it is perfect for this quote as well. When I was little, I loved to swim and play in the water, but the swim class I was in had to go off the 1 meter spring board. I kept cutting out of line, to move to the very end.

Eventually, the inevitable happened, and it was finally my turn to go. I stood on the end of the board with my knees knocking, I was so scared. Finally, my mom had to chase me off the end of the board (and only because she was scarier than the dive was).

Once I did it, I wanted to do it again. I thought that I was afraid because it was hard to do. However, in reality, it was hard to do only because I was afraid. Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself and my aversion to the unknown and to risk in general. Now I do my homework first, and then I take action.

What are some of the things you have thought about doing, but have been unable to muster the courage to be daring? Are you seeing danger at every turn, are you concerned that there are serious risks and consequences, or are you concerned about the difficulty or complexity of the task?

Grab some paper and write some of these ‘things’ down, along with your perceived risks, concerns, worries, difficulties, or any other reason (or excuse) for why you aren’t busy doing these things. Try to get more than just a few, and try to draw from different areas of your life.

Is there a pattern? Do most of your thoughts or reasons boil down to the same couple of core concepts? I am very risk averse, but education is the way to know the risk and manage it. What is your primary difficulty, and what ways can you think of to overcome the problem? Add that to the paper.

Now consider what you can do to accomplish some of those ways. For me, information comes most naturally from the web or from books, but I have also gathered info from people who have done it before, and from TV shows.

Where, specifically can you get what you need to prime you to surmount your concerns, and allow you to prepare yourself to dare and then to do? Add these ideas to the paper as well. Look at the list and ask yourself if you think these things look as difficult as they did before you started today.

For me, the answer was most definitely not. Understanding why I was afraid to dare allowed me to find methods to get around that fear. By doing that, I was able to gather my courage and dare to do the difficult. And once you start doing the difficult on a daily basis, can the attempt at the impossible be all that far behind?

From: Twitter, @iamdiddy
confirmed at :
Photo by findingtheobvious

This quote comes from his Letter to Lucilius, letter 104, section 26, line 5 (how’s that for a detailed cite?)


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in accomplishment, confidence, discipline, knowledge, personal growth, self-esteem and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

  1. Jay Suryavanshi says:

    Very True,
    I completely agree with your thoughts and its very inspiring too.
    This helped me to remind some of my fears due to which I avoided few things in past.
    I am going to definately give a try to such things and see the results.
    Once again thanks and please keep sharing such valuable thoughts.
    Jay Suryavanshi

    • philosiblog says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you found the post to be useful. Keep us posted on how things go for you. Remember to adjust your approach based on the results, and come up with a better plan for the next try.

      Raindrops wear down mountains. You might not have that much time, but you can accomplish a great deal if you keep after it. Remember Thomas Edison and the thousands of ways he found to not make a light bulb!

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