One of my most vibrant childhood memories is of my first visit to Disneyland in California. I was about 9 years old, and my family was making the epic trip to the temple of happiness en route to our homeland New Zealand. Not surprisingly, my anticipation for this moment was off the charts. Our journey into the park started with some of the most iconic rides that are still there today: It’s a small world” (they even had a little section dedicated to New Zealand!) and the spinning teacups (note to self… motion sickness doesn’t go away just because you’re at the happiest place on earth… ugh). 

By the afternoon, we’d made our way to the more serious stuff. The Matterhorn Mountain was the newest attraction to have opened, and the lines winded around corners with waits up to 2 hours. Standing in that line, I felt like I would be waiting until the END OF TIME. But as we inched closer, I could hear the screams of people going through the ride, elevating my nerves and excitement.  When we finally got to the front of the line, I felt like I was getting aboard a space shuttle about to hurtle into space. And guess what I was NOT disappointed. The ride F*ckn ROOOOCKED! It was one of my first memories of feeling like a badass. At the age of 9 I could say I’d survived the Matterhorn Mountain, and it felt freeken amazeballs!

Matterhorn, Disneyland

Image: Disneyland Resort

Fast forward to last year when I took my kids to Disneyland for the first time. This time around, I was a stressed out, multi tasking, and impatient parent. My first reaction to the new Fast Pass” option was utter delight. Nothing better than reducing the time you have to stand in lines, right? But by the end of the day, my kids were quick to give up” on the lines that they perceived as too long. They had completed so many rides that when I asked them what they’d thought of the park, I got a yeah kinda cool” response.

YEAH KINDA COOL? ARE YOU FREEKEN KIDDING ME? This is Disneyland! You’re meant to be losing your mind with excitement! At that moment, it dawned on me that making it easy for them by giving into the Fast Pass meant denying them the awesomeness of the actual experience. They didn’t feel that same excitement and passion that I unknowingly developed while waiting for one ride as long as they waited for ten. It turns out, the harder you work for something, the more fulfilling the reward.
My Disneyland experience has caused me to start obsessing a bit about what I fondly call shortcut culture.” We have barreled into a time in history where shortcuts are everywhere, and you feel foolish if you don’t take advantage of them. However, the moral of the story is always the same: when you take the easy path, you don’t realize your full potential. From weight loss, to developing career experience; from a successful marriage, to raising kids nothing that yields great, long term results is ever described as easy.”
If you’re starting out in your career, or are midway through, and are finding yourself leaning towards the easier options you might want to start taking the tougher path. If you don’t believe me, here are three great reasons to avoid shortcuts:
Everywhere we turn these days we are told to find our passion” in order to be happy in our careers and our lives. But passion is made, not found. If you’re working in a position that you’re not feeling totally passionate about, instead of giving into today’s trend of job hopping,” try to really DIG IN to discover the fulfillment it might yield.
My very first job out of college was in the airline industry. One of my tasks was reviewing seat capacity…. which wasn’t exactly my passion. But after 6 years in airlines, I had developed a real love for service and hospitality businesses. And this task (SO annoying at the time) ended up giving me an added bonus.  Who knew that 20 years later I’d need the skill of understanding seat capacities to maximize butts on bikes instead of butts in aircraft seats!
In fitness, we all know that the heavier the weights you pick up, or the harder the interval, the stronger you will become. I’d argue that the tougher the workout, the more amazing you feel at the end of it! (For example, If you haven’t tried our new Power Ride at Flywheel, I’d highly recommend it. Tougher intervals, tougher hills but boy it feels good at the end!)
Everyone has to start somewhere; it can be as simple as choosing to take the stairs instead of the escalator. When you make the harder choice, you always do more for your body and your mind.
It’s no different in your life and career. We’ve all had those moments when our friends and peers seem to be cruising along at amazing companies with consistent successes, while we are toiling away in the middle of a career turnaround or at a grueling start up. In those moments, it’s easy to wish the work were bit easier, the hours shorter, and the stress reduced. But the reality is, it’s those really tough career challenges that build the strength and resilience that enable us to take on more in the future. So next time you have that fleeting thought, comparing yourself to your peers, reframing it by thinking: huh they’re not building up the skills that I am!”
I’ve long believed that people without a safety net underneath them generally fight so much harder for their successes. Likewise, so many of the Extremers I have met in my life have discovered their own potential by taking on a risky opportunity that others advised them against. They turned that doubt into the motivation to fight for success (that I’ll show em!” attitude), and when they did fail (which everyone does), instead of letting it knock them down, they used it as fuel to work harder. 
When you take the difficult path, you challenge yourself to succeed in ways you never thought possible. Sure, there’s always the option to rely on free support from others, and to take the path of least resistance. We always have the choice to take the comfortable road mom and dad suggest over pursing our scary and distant dreams. But I’ll let you in on a secret: our greatest strengths are found in the times of greatest challenge. You’ll need to get out of your comfort zone, and put yourself in situations that force you to grow in order to reach your extreme potential. 
So as you roll into 2018, reflect on your relationship with shortcut culture. Do you find yourself always taking the easy road, or are you regularly putting yourself in situations that require you to think, problem solve, and grow? The easy path may feel better in the short term, but in the long run it will stop you short of finding your true potential. So this year, F* easy! Embrace those tough situations and come out of 2018 a stronger YOU.

From Sarah's Blog