On the day this blog is published, I won’t be at work.
I’ll be far away from my laptop, probably drinking a cider somewhere with a few friends, because today is my birthday – and on this special day, I thought I’d let you in on a life-changing phrase that I came across in the last year.
It’s just three words: choose your hard. (Hang on, let me explain.)
“Choosing your hard” could help you to make informed choices rather than easy ones
I don’t remember where I read it, but the phrase “choose your hard” has revolutionised my life.
It acknowledges the universal truth that life is hard, no matter who you are or where you come from, and by trying to make life easy, you could actually be pushing yourself further into difficult circumstances. So instead of attempting to avoid hardship altogether, you just have to choose the ways in which your life is going to be hard. (Stay with me, I promise it’ll make sense soon.)
At first, I took the “choose your hard” phrase and applied it to my health. Taking care of myself is often pretty difficult; working full-time and completing a postgraduate degree simultaneously leaves little room for a balanced diet, regular exercise, and relaxation. It is all too easy to let things slip: work in my pyjamas, watch TV on my lunch break instead of going for a walk, or microwave a ready meal for dinner instead of cooking from scratch.
But the truth is, if I made life “easy” for myself through those things, it’d only be harder later. Deprioritising my health now would mean suffering physically and mentally for years down the line. So, instead of falling for the myth of an easy life, I “chose my hard”, and make an enormous (still imperfect) effort to take care of myself in the here and now.
I have committed to lifting weights at least twice a week, for example. Would I like to get up at 6 am and pay my hard-earned money to stand in a neon-lit gym with a bunch of sweaty blokes tomorrow? Not really – but rather that than suffer with joint and flexibility problems that could be reduced by being fitter.
Of course, it’s not always as simple as that. Sometimes it’s impossible to choose the “correct” thing, and that’s OK. But trying this mindset out, even if you change your habits by just 1%, could still produce results.
Until recently, I hadn’t thought about “choosing my hard” when it comes to my writing, and had only focused on health and wellness. But once I applied it to copywriting, and the writing I do for my degree, I realised just how powerful this mindset could be.
Here are two tips for “choosing your hard” when it comes to writing copy, and why it could make all the difference.
1. Acknowledge that talent is mostly a myth
Some people are naturally great writers, in the same way that others have an aptitude for mathematics (something I definitely do not share!).
However, talent does not replace discipline. “I am just a crap writer” is something I have heard many times, but the truth is, writing is a craft just like anything else.
Taylor Swift recently provided a great example of how talent does not trump hard work. Clearly a naturally gifted singer and songwriter, Swift still trained like a marathon runner for her billion-dollar Eras Tour, saying to Time that “Every day I would run on the treadmill, singing the entire set list out loud.” The set list is more than three hours long.
So, if you’ve ever found yourself saying “I’m just no good at writing” when it comes to producing copy for your website, writing to a client, or drafting up a pitch, challenge this assumption. Perhaps it could be helpful to accept that writing is hard for everybody, including actual writers, and that simply practising daily could solve your difficulties in time.
If you want to stop falling for the talent myth and accept that you can write well too, try these daily “hard” choices:
- Put your phone in another room and read for 15 minutes or more. Newspapers, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, comics, I don’t care. Good writers are usually voracious readers and it’s no coincidence.
- Allow your writing to be bad at first. Tom Daley was not born knowing how to dive without making a splash, and no writer was born with the ability to form a perfect sentence. Accept that writing is hard and do loads of really bad versions of your work. Gain feedback from a non-judgemental friend or colleague if you can.
- Make time. If you’re serious about improving your writing, you’re not going to produce amazing results by leaving it until last on your to-do list. Feel the most creative in the morning? Write while you’re eating your breakfast. Love brainstorming ideas last thing at night? You know what to do.
It could be hugely empowering to stop considering talent as an important factor when writing.
2. Work with those who have a similar mindset
Once you start “choosing your hard”, you’ll gravitate towards others who do the same. When you meet people who lean into the hard work that comes with every aspect of life, you can continue to be inspired by this mindset.
But ultimately, there’s another side to this: sometimes, you don’t have time to fully commit to learning a new craft or skill. If writing, marketing, or social media simply isn’t something you are interested in mastering, that’s okay – you can find other professionals who, like you, choose the “hard” path today to create successful outcomes tomorrow.
To work with marketing experts, designers, and writers who put high standards first, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300 to get started.