Sam Radford

November 24, 2021

When what we think is hard is actually easy

Much of life is about perception.

We put off that task because, in our head, it feels huge.

Eventually, when we can put if off no longer, we embrace the task. 

Thirty minutes later, it’s done. 

And we’re left wondering why we ever thought it was a big deal.

In his latest newsletter, Oliver Burkeman tackles this issue. Reflecting on how he blew up in his head planning his boy’s birthday party, he writes:

Approaching this as a daunting challenge isn't a reflection of any objective facts, but more like a default bad habit, one I can drop the moment that I notice I'm doing it.

Two things stand out from that sentence.

First, turning tasks into daunting challenges that don’t reflect reality is the default, habitual posture for many of us.

Second, we can choose to change how we perceive a task.

Habits are notoriously hard to break. But not impossible. Changing default behaviours takes time and intention, but change will happen if we persevere.

If we can turn our default mode of ‘turn every task into a daunting challenge’ off, we would realise that there are plenty of things in our lives that are, actually, easy! They’re not a big deal. A task, for sure, but nothing to get consumed by.


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |

About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.