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Making The Hard Choices

There’s a great scene toward the end of A League of Their Own where Gina Davis’ character is preparing to leave the team before the season’s over. She tells Tom Hank’s character, “It just got too hard.” Tom Hank’s character leans in and responds with this classic line, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

I understand they are talking about baseball but their words aptly describe change and the reason why so many don’t change their lives. It’s about making the hard choices. I believe from my own experience and the lives of my clients that it finally comes down to choices. No matter how long it takes to get there, no matter the twists and turns in the journey, we each come to a point where we decide to continue the way we are or change.

And it’s not like the movies where the hero comes to the turning point, makes his choice and then life moves smoothly to its happy ending. Making the hard choice to change for the better is only the first of many hard choices that will come every day. There are so many attractive off ramps luring me to detour from my goal of becoming the better man I was born to be.

For a while it may seem as if each decision is harder than the last, mostly because we are unaccustomed to choosing and the exercise of our will and conscience is so unfamiliar and so unused that it takes enormous effort to choose and walk in the choice. Be encouraged, it does get easier. Like a muscle, the more you exercise your will and make the hard choices the easier they become and the better you become at it.

One thing that is key is to have a clear goal in mind, like living within a budget, or remaining free from pornography or taking the steps to qualify yourself for a better career path. Having a clear goal with specific steps along the path can help you measure your progress and give you markers to celebrate. Each week that you live without spending outside the budget, every day you go without porn or alcohol or your drug of choice, every course you take and certificate you qualify for are markers, milestones along your journey to achieving your goal.

Another thing that is quite beneficial is the support of at least one other person who understands what you desire to accomplish and is willing to encourage you and listen to your struggles and kick you in the butt as needed when you lose heart or suffer discouragement. To say to you, like Tom Hank’s character, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

As I reminded a client just this morning, the hard is what makes you great for having made the hard choices and walked in them. And later, after your wife and children have honored you for overcoming your defects of character, you will get to hear the best compliment of all, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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