Saturday, April 24, 2021

Make Life Less Difficult or Make Life Easier? Choosing Words Carefully

The Victorian writer George Eliot - whose real name was Mary Anne Evans - asks:

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"

If we think about Eliot's question - which is really an admonition - we see making life less difficult for others is the foundation of every successful business, every religion, and every act of loving kindness. It is the glue that holds together families, communities, and even nations.

Note: Listen to the companion podcast for this blogpost below.

Framing Eliot's Question in a More Powerful Way

As powerful as Eliot's admonition is, I invite you to consider whether it can be framed in a more positive and even more powerful way. The words, "less difficult", presuppose that life is difficult, life is hard. The best we can do is make life, "less difficult"

Yes, there are aspects of life that are difficult. But there are also aspects of life that can be enjoyable, fun, and joyful. 

An Invitation to Make Life Easier

Eliot invites us to help others by making their lives less difficult. I invite you to help others by making their lives easier. 

When we focus on "less difficult" we're looking at the, "Life is Difficult" continuum. This continuum goes from difficult near the point of impossibility to difficult, but doable. Our mind is locked into the energy of "difficult".

Focusing our creativity and problem solving on making life "less difficult" may generate beneficial ways of helping others and ourselves. At the end of that effort, we've likely moved toward difficult but doable on the "Life is Difficult" continuum. That's good, but can we do better?

Here's a little experiment: say out loud or at least whisper these two statement and let your awareness settle into your body for four or five seconds after saying each statement.

"Make life less difficult."

"Make life easier."

Repeat these two statements again and really feel each one. Now, simply say,


and then say, 


How do the feelings differ? Which statement feels lighter and better?

I'll bet the, "Make life easier" statement feels better. I'll also bet if you enter into an idea generating process to identify ways of helping one other person, a group, a community, or even a nation, you'll create far more and better ideas when you're focused on, "Make life easier" rather than on, "Make life less difficult".

How to Use This Insight in Your Life

When looking toward changing circumstances or identifying opportunities for yourself or others, ensure you're framing the issue, challenge, or opportunity as simply and as positively as possible. For example, asking, "How can I get out of debt?" means you're focusing on debt. 

Asking, "How can I improve my financial situation?" or - even better -  "How can I create sustained financial abundance?", opens your idea generating mind to a far wider and better range of options.

When thinking about helping someone else who, for example, is suffering from a serious illness, ask, "In what ways can I help make life easier for her?" rather than, "How can I stop her suffering?"

On a neighborhood or community level, ask, "How can we create a safer community?" rather than, "How can we stop crime?".

The way we use words to craft the questions of life matters. Framing questions in a positive way opens the mind to richer, more powerful possibilities.

How Are You Using Questions to Create a Better Life?

How are you using questions to guide your life? I'd love to hear from you through my Twitter handle, @swcarter or by email.

Stephen Carter

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