Difficult is Useful

"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." — African Proverb

A friend of mine ran a marathon in the city of Pittsburgh. I heard complaints from other runners about how hilly the marathon course was.

When my friend returned to Ithaca, I asked, "How hard were the hills?"

He looked confused and said, "Hills? What hills? I didn't notice any."

I laughed and immediately understood the discrepancy between his view and that of the complaining runners. My friend and I live in a the land of long, steep hills. From the bottom of one hill to the top is four miles without one bit of downhill relief.

Hill is our normal. We could drive to find a flat running loop. We don't.

Because of that, the "hilly" Pittsburgh marathon was not a problem.

There are leadership lessons in these hills.

Easy projects do not prepare one for difficult projects.

Mastering difficult projects builds the skills that make handling "normal" projects easier.

And with projects, like on runs, once you reach the top of a long hill climb, the view is especially spectacular.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,
ALAN WILLETT