David Heinemeier Hansson

November 22, 2022

Don’t wish it was easier

One of the fascinating aspects of the TikTok algorithm is its ability to connect similarities from alien domains, and thus feed you more of what you’ve liked, but from an alternate angle. This brain hack is of course part of the addictive nature of TikTok, but it also occasionally unearths compelling connections you didn’t even know existed. 

I noticed this recently after clearly having tought the algorithm that I enjoyed Stoic quotes by lingering on those videos. So it first showed me Jim Rohn’s self-help version of embracing fate:

Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.
Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills.
Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.

What a wonderful way to combine the Stoic principles of amor fati (love your fate) and the separation of what you can control (getting better!) from what you can’t (what the world throws at you!).

Then, almost immediately after, and perhaps because I had let Rohn’s word loop a couple of times as I soaked in his articulation, I got this #christiantiktok version:

I asked for strength and god gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and god gave me problems to solve.
I asked for courage and god gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love and god gave me troubled people to help.
My prayers were answered.

So many of the most profound truths of life have been independently discovered by a great many thinkers from many great traditions over millennia. And some of them will find us in between cute puppies, silly dance videos, and crass humor on a Chinese video app. Majestic!

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.