August, 2014

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Easy vs. Difficult: Which will you choose?

As a tutor, one thing I strive to do is not let my students take the easy way out. I encourage them to never back down from a challenge. Do I succeed in this all the time? No. But in this age of smart phones that “talk” and can tell you everything from how to boil water to what the country of Kyrgyzstan’s population is, it is easy to get used to immediate results without much effort. I know that for myself, at least, it is very easy to choose the least challenging way out of a problem.

And I find this mentality more and more in the people I interact with and the students I teach. We back down from anything that is hard or stressful…and that is scary because success is not easy.

Vince Lombardi, known as one of the most successful coaches in NFL history, said this:

Hard work quote

Recognized in 1991 as the greatest American architect of all time by the American Institute of Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright said,


I personally have seen evidence of this in my students. Those that study on their own time, figure things out for themselves, and keep striving even after failure are the ones that show the most improvement. And not only are they improving their grades, they are also building life skills of determination and perseverance.

Salman Khan, the founder of the educational resource Khan Academy (see my earlier post), recently wrote a fascinating article on this idea, and I highly encourage y’all to check it out as it delves farther into the reasons why, “As long as they embrace struggle and mistakes, [students] can learn anything.” (Sal Khan, The Learning Myth: Why I Never Tell My Son He’s Smart)

What challenge or problem will you choose to take on today?

Rachel Cheslik

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