A couple of months ago, I read this article, The Tyranny of Convenience, and it got me thinking about the world we live in. Today, everything is available at the touch of a button or click of the mouse. I am no Luddite and I’m an advocate for technology. I use Amazon more than anything because it is so easy to order products and have them arrive in two days. I love how easy it is for me to look up any fact or topic on Google and explore it more deeply. Additionally, the smartphone continues to do a lot to help with poverty in developing nations too. The sheer access to information is a force that levels the playing field and allows the poor to expand their knowledge base and move up the income scale. What I worry about, especially with people in richer nations, is that we lose the ability to deal with struggle.
“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them
become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The
very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the
major building block in the person we are today.” Pope Paul VI
As “The Tyranny of Convenience” points out, “Today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience. Convenience is all destination and no journey.” The journey is the most fulfilling part of life. The struggle to achieve a difficult task is what makes it feel so good. The old cliché that nothing good ever came easy is a cliché for a reason. We find ourselves in the process. If everything is available at the touch of a button and we don’t have to work as hard as in the past, what happens when we do come across a difficult task or experience a tragedy in our lives? I fear we will not have the will to move forward, will be too fearful to act, and stagnate as people. In my life, I found that growth comes through discomfort.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
Look around, this is the greatest time to ever be alive. Around the globe, poverty is at its lowest point ever; education and life expectancy are at their highest, yet so many people seem so unhappy. I believe part of this is the inability of people to step out of their comfort zone and try difficult things. Trust me, I struggled with this for a long time and still do but the area out of your comfort zone is where growth happens. Typically, it is the most difficult times in our lives when we find meaning and purpose. As Lou Mannheim said in the movie Wall Street, “Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”
To Sum it Up
We don’t need to completely shun convenience. I sure as hell won’t. However, we need to embrace inconvenience more and enjoy the struggle. Set your sites high on a difficult task, put in the work, and achieve your goals. It will do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.
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