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Article Title:
How Do You Get To Easy Street?

Article Description:
I got an email from a friend this week. She has started 
work on a new business venture but has gotten distracted by 
family matters. One phrase in her email stood out. "This is 
not as easy as I had planned." Her words got me thinking 
about the expectation that doing something new should be 

Additional Article Information:
1172 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Wed Apr 19 04:39:59 EDT 2006

Written By:     Kalinda Rose Stevenson
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 

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How Do You Get To Easy Street?
Copyright © 2006 Kalinda Rose Stevenson
No Money Limits

"Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I 
win."  --- Nadia Comaneci

        I got an email from a friend this week. She has started 
work on a new business venture but has gotten distracted by 
family matters. One phrase in her email stood out. "This is not 
as easy as I had planned."

        Her words got me thinking about the expectation that 
doing something new should be "easy."

        One of the biggest of the big lies of our times is that 
success should be easy.  I did a search on Google on the word 
"easy." Google brought back 2,490,000,000 websites. Look at that 
number.  Almost two and a half billion web pages using the word 

        The expectation that success should be "easy" has been 
drilled into us by too many get rich quick schemes, too many 
promises of instant success, and too many sales claims that 
some product will make things easy for you.  Easy, easy, easy.

        This is especially evident on the internet.  We hear 
too many stories about 24 hour promotions leading to a million 
dollars in sales, without knowing how many years lay behind that 
instant success.

        Speaking for myself, I'd like to find success on the 
road named Easy Street. Unfortunately, taking a stroll down Easy 
Street does not usually lead to success. Easy Street is usually 
a dead end road, leading nowhere.

        If success is so easy, why do so few people succeed? The 
truth is that success is rarely easy. Most successful people 
attribute their success to hard work. And hard work is not easy.

"If you like things easy, you'll have difficulties; if you like 
problems, you'll succeed." --- Laotian Proverb

        I used to teach Biblical Hebrew to theological students. 
Hebrew is not an easy language for English-speaking adults to 
learn. The alphabet consists only of consonants. Vowels are 
noted with a system of lines and dots. And words are written 
from right to left. One of my students approached me one day 
after class early in the semester, and with great frustration 
asked, "How can I ever learn this stuff?"

        I knew that Mike was a professional pianist and singer 
and had left a successful career as an opera singer to start 
theological seminary. I asked him if he could read music.  He 
seemed a bit annoyed that I would even ask such a question, and 
said, "Of course." Then I asked if he knew how to read music the 
first time he looked at a sheet of music. He looked startled and 
then I saw a flicker of awareness in his eyes. He got my point. 
I didn't have to say anything else.

        Reading music had become so easy for Mike that he no 
longer had to think about it.  Learning to read Hebrew is no 
harder than learning to read music. It is also not easy.  
Learning any new skill involves hard work and it also takes 
time to learn. Stephen Covey traces the stages of development 
from unconsciously incompetent, to consciously incompetent, 
to consciously competent, to unconsciously competent.

        Mike had already reached the point of being unconsciously 
competent when he read music.  This is another way of saying that
he had reached mastery.  In contrast, after two or three weeks 
of studying Hebrew, he was consciously incompetent in Hebrew, 
and frustrated with himself because he was not already a master 
of what he had barely begun to study.

"What is easy is seldom excellent." --- Samuel Johnson

        The word "ease" is related to the word "easy" but they 
are miles apart. What is ease?  Ease is what happens when you 
have reached mastery of whatever it is that you set out to do.

        The quotation from Nadia Comaneci says it all. Nadia 
awed the world with her gymnastics at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. 
She made it look easy, as she flung her tiny body around the 
parallel bars. But that skill came as the result of years of 
grueling work in the gym.  That is the real sequence. From 
incompetence to mastery by way of hard work. Hard work got her 
there, and she made it look so easy because she had reached a 
point of ease.

        This is the very definition of mastery.  When you reach 
a point where you make the difficult look easy. The price Nadia 
paid, the price any truly successful person pays, is hard work.

"Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the 
things that you'd rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear 
of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training 
yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, 
drive through the other barrier. And, after you've done that, 
to do it again the next day." --- Seth Godin

        But even hard work is not enough for real success. If 
one of the biggest lies of our times is that success can and 
should be easy, the idea that hard work leads to success is 
equally misleading.

        If Easy Street is a dead end, traveling down Hard Work 
Street is no guarantee that you will find success at the end of 
it. In fact, Hard Work Street can be as much of a dead end as 
Easy Street. Hard work by itself is not enough to lead you to 

        Why?   Because sometimes you are on the wrong Hard work 
Street. Just working hard is not enough. You need to be working 
toward something that is authentic for you. One of the reasons 
that so many of us work so hard with so little result is that 
we are working at cross purposes with our true selves.

        So the real question is, Are you working hard to master 
a craft or skill that is the right craft or skill for you.  Are 
you trying hard to be what you are simply not meant to be?

        Hard work would not have been enough for Nadia to 
succeed as a gymnast if she didn't have some sort of natural 
facility and body type for gymnastics. This is why you don't 
see female Olympic-level basketball players who are five feet 
tall and gymnasts who are six feet four. No matter how hard 
she worked, tiny Nadia would never have stunned the world as 
a basketball player.

        My student Mike could read music, play the piano, and 
sing with an amazing trained tenor voice because he worked hard 
to develop his innate talents.

        And so, my friend was onto something when she commented, 
"This is not as easy as I had planned." Success is not easy. 
Success requires hard work.  But hard work doesn't have to feel 
hard when you are doing something that is authentic for you. 
I'm going to give the last words to Alan Alda.

"You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by 
not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be 
wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself." --- Alan Alda

Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D.
FREE Ebook "Do You Know The Money-Making 
Secret In The Monopoly Game?"



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