Ease Before Difficulty

Many of us are probably familiar with the idea of no pain no gain, to brave the storm to reach the calm. Well, let’s spend some time reminding ourselves that you don’t need to seek pain to gain something.

Let’s get Cooking

Oh no! We’re about to step into analogy territory again, aren’t we?!

The Steps We Take

Different foods cook at different temperatures and turn out differently when we alter the process. If you crack an egg straight into a pan, you get sunny side eggs; if you crack it into a bowl and whisk it first, you can make omelettes; you can instead boil it to either make poached eggs or boiled eggs. If you separate the yolk from the egg white, the latter can become a meringue. That meringue can be a standalone bake or can be part of a cake. Likewise, the temperature of an oven may need to be adjusted for the same cake depending on the colour of the cake tin you’re using: a black tin cooks the outside faster, whilst lighter coloured tin will allow the cake to be cooked more evenly throughout.

The first rule of difficulties I’m going to mention is that what we gain depends on the journey we’ve taken. If it hurts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the outcome you wished for. A common example of this is the idea that more effort equals being more productive. It isn’t. It plateaus after while, like when you realise that you haven’t been taking care of yourself as you’ve strived towards your destination.

It Isn’t Always Necessary

So what happens when you continue to cook something that’s already been cooked well?

It gets burnt.

Do you need to cook a fruit for it to taste good?


Here’s our second rule of difficulties: pain doesn’t always equal gain. Too much pain destroys us, much like how too much exercise can lead to injury. Meanwhile, some foods don’t need to be cooked, so trying to cook it will only make it taste bad and may even kill off the benefits it originally came with. If you think that someone needs to be burned by fire to know that its dangerous, they may simply learn it out of fear, not of understanding, so they become blind to the properties of fire altogether, its risks and its benefits.

A Point of Reference

Combing the previous two, cooking a blueberry by cracking it into a pan and frying it won’t turn it into a sunny side egg, no matter how much you wish for it to do so.

The final rule I want to share about difficulties is that you have to consider the individual that’s facing the pain. I have my strengths and weaknesses, and so does everyone else. What makes you stronger may break me, whilst what defines me may lead you astray. Hence, we have context. There are some universal traits, like how food is food. We use it to fuel ourselves for the day and it can taste good or bad. Likewise, there are some universal traits we all have as humans, yet we express them differently and each trait is tweaked to different capacities. We all seek patience, but for some, patience more often means to wait and for others, it more often means to be consistent. It may even mean to start searching.

Water can Flow, or it can Crash

Whenever Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was given the choice of one of two matters, he would choose the easier of the two, as long as it was not sinful to do so, but if it was sinful to do so, he would not approach it.

Sahih Al-Bukhari 3560

Even though our difficulties can make us better people, it doesn’t mean it will, nor does it mean we should drown ourselves in each and every one, nor does it mean that the path to success will always be the same, moment for moment, step by step, word for word.

If a difficulty can’t be avoided, then take it and make the best out of it. Until then, take the easier path. Like the saying attributed to Bruce Lee, water can flow, or it can crash. In the context of this post, I’m going to add to that and remind ourselves that water first chooses to flow until it has to crash.

9 thoughts on “Ease Before Difficulty

    1. Yes. Fruits are great. (My attempt to mention healthy eating so that I don’t feel bad if you were to suddenly develop a craving for something sugary because of the post. Also I reading too much into this so possibly ignore the previous sentence altogether.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure why, but I’m suddenly reminded me of how much I love mangoes. There was once this gathering with fruits (including mangoes) laid out everywhere and I was too shy to ask for more than what was in front of me. After everyone had their fill of dinner, they insisted that I help finish the fruits as I was the youngest there. They could *definitely* tell how happy I was whilst I was eating it. 😅


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