Why most things are hard

It’s all about the odds

Dhawal Sharma
3 min readJan 15, 2022


Photo by Pascal van de Vendel on Unsplash

Anything we wish to do in life is hard. An achievement is not an achievement unless you have to struggle for it. Taking candy from a 5-year old is easy, but it’s not how you would define success. Success is setting up a profitable candy store.

Even things that seem easy to do now were hard at some point. That’s how humans and societies grow and evolve: making hard things easy. Hard to easy is a journey, and it takes time and whole lot of other materials.

In your own life you’ll find that anything you wish to do just seems so difficult. Especially if you haven’t done it before. For instance, most people think they can just decide to exercise tomorrow and it will happen. Millions of unused gym memberships are proof of how difficult that is.

Anything that is not yet a habit is hard.

Why are we so frequently surprised by the sheer difficulty of things we decide to do? Probably because our minds can so effortlessly race ahead of us: we can envision success so clearly that we begin to think it’s only a matter going out and grabbing it.

But as soon as we put our physical self out in the world, reality hits: we are ill-equipped and the world is not exactly cooperative.

A big reason why things are so hard is because of probabilities. A successful result occurs when a lot of things go well together. Moreover, success is usually defined in terms of a single outcome defined at the outset. But there are many more ways to fail:

1 way to succeed, 10000 ways to fail.

So, most things are hard because success is about odds. Even when odds are in your favour, you will rarely hit the bullseye in the first few tries. So you need to play again and again to have the game turn in your favour. It’s as simple as that.

We get discouraged when we put in the effort but nothing comes out it it. However we miss the fact that all that effort, in the end, is just one shot at the goal. Just one throw of the dice. However, favourable results often depend on just staying alive and in the game.

This does not mean that we have to start at zero every time. If we’re smart about it, we can learn a lot from our failures and take better aim next time.

Success is essentially about convergence. It’s a coming together of many things at once: your skill level, your efforts, the needs of your audience, the economy, the competition and luck. Our job is to not only work hard, but also be mindful of these other factors.

Things are hard, yes. But only because we haven’t understood the rules of the game yet. The world doesn’t care about how hard we have worked. It just keep churning on, driven by probabilities. Once in while, these probabilities will align in a favourable manner and the portal to success will open. When that time comes, will you still be in the game?



Dhawal Sharma

I read like a man possessed | I write to understand the world | Twitter: @DhawalHelix