Difficulty reveals who you really are.

When it’s hard, you learn who you really are. Difficulty reveals character. Difficulty shows you what you are passionate about – and lights a fire under your skin to go after what you really want.

We learn from the tough times, from the trenches, from the down-trodden, life-is-the-pits moments.  When you start thinking, “I don’t want this,” and you learn what works and you strive for something else. More often than not, we learn when it’s HARD.

Giving up things – and giving away Stuff – is hard. I have had the hardest time cleaning out my bookshelves and throwing or giving my Stuff away.  I’m nowhere near minimalist (although more and more I dream of it). On the blog zen habits, Leo Babauta talks about the slow process that is de-cluttering and simplifying your life.

“Simplicity. It is a lovely ancient spiritual tradition that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.  As we try to make sense of our erratic economy and the accompanying financial anxiety, it is natural to leap to a less risky lifestyle extreme — stop spending, scale back, live lean.

But let’s be real here. In spite of embracing the concept of simplicity, most people really love their stuff, and they love acquiring more stuff. Like our attitudes about a healthy diet, our feelings about material things are complicated. We know what’s good for us, but we just don’t want to give up what we like. Our stuff makes us feel good.”

Living with less means choosing, often choosing between two things that are both great and important. I find that an incredibly apt metaphor for life. It’s not “can we have everything,” but, “what is the most important thing that I want?” Life, money, happiness, balance, goal setting – it all relates to this concept. What is first? What is most important? What are the few things that you cannot live without, because they are what your life is about?

Sometimes it gets hard – making these decisions, sticking through the tough times, and saying no to things even when they are tempting.  In each case, you get to learn through the experiences and the lessons that it teaches. In these tougher times – those hard moments – it will reveals who you really are.

Smile and be courageous.

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Lessons from Less started as a small sigh and a simple project experimenting with the ideas of Yes + No, More + Less.  To read the entire list, check out the category Lessons from Less.

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