Free and easy

Photo courtesy of Brent Moore (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Brent Moore (Creative Commons)

It was the first email I opened – the one with the subject line of “Free and easy resources for…” – and I realized once again that little in life is really free and easy even though we keep hoping that it is.

This email was just one more example of how some things may seem free and easy but usually they are worth what you pay! It’s scary how drawn we are to it though, and how we continue to hope that we can get things without having to pay much, in currency, time, effort or emotional investment.

We look for the pill that can help us lose weight, the best sale price, and the easiest route to success.

But the people who go on that crash diet are the ones who gain the weight (and usually more) back quickly. Those who learn how to eat healthy, balance meals and snacks, and work hard at maintaining a regular exercise schedule are the ones who keep the weight off and feel better. Getting up to run or head to the gym every day, even when it’s dark and cold, and making the choice to forego that donut at the office or drink water instead of a soft drink may feel like it is costing a lot at the time, but it pays off in the end.

Best sale price often means poorest quality, so it makes sense to spend time checking out all the options and making an informed decision so that you get your money’s worth. I’m sure you’ve made the mistake of getting the cheapest price, and then had to replace the item too soon and spend even more.

To be truly successful in work, you must be hungry to read, network and study to improve yourself and your performance. You don’t get the job and then coast. Your mind becomes stale and lazy if you aren’t working to stretch it, and your performance will usually reflect that laziness.

Your relationships probably take the most work of all – and are often the first place we slack off. We must be intentional about the time we spend with spouse, children or friends, and make sure we are not taking them for granted. Settling into routines can be dangerous, because you start drifting apart and losing touch. How many times have you seen couples split up because they did not take an active interest in each other and work hard to stay connected? And on the flip side, aren’t the happiest families those in which there is an effort to eat meals together or to consciously spend quality time together?

It takes hard work to be happy and successful, but the payoff is huge.

In which areas of your life should you stop taking the free and easy route?