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We Do Hard Things

Author and Managing Owner and Chairman of Hancock Lumber, Kevin Hancock, shares how his Peloton rides inspire and reflect the strength of the human spirit, showing us how to apply that inspiration to all aspects of our lives.

I have a Peloton bike in my basement. To date, I have taken 884 rides. My favorite instructor is Emma Lovewell, and my goal, each ride, is to finish in the top 20 percent.

During a ride Emma is a bundle of energy with her smiles, her dance moves, and her wisdom. She’s an optimist, a constant believer in the power and potential of the human spirit. What she says during a ride is often so powerful that I feel conflicted between wanting to stop and write something down and completing my goal of a top 20% finish.

For example, on a recent ride, she said the following simple statement about humans: We do hard things.

I’ve found that Emma’s thoughts often parallel something I have written, said, or am contemplating, and “we do hard things” is one such example. When you step back and look at the human experience, it’s hard to conclude anything other than the fact that we are amazing.

For starters, we are born on a planet where everything dies. The eventual death of everyone we know is a certainty. Every living creature on Earth shares this reality. Furthermore, on our planet, life eats life. Life survives by eating itself. To this we add the physical and psychological challenges of being human in the modern world, where sickness, doubt, fear, and failure await us all.

Yet every morning we get up and go.

My office in Maine looks out on the lumber mill campus across the street. Every morning at 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, rain, snow, or shine, over seventy humans show up there and start working. And they do so with skill, care, teamwork, and high levels of personal engagement. They do this despite what might be happening at home or within themselves. They are amazing in this regard.    

More broadly, Hancock Lumber has sixteen other sites across Maine and New Hampshire where the same incredible feat plays out.

Whenever I hear someone say, “No one wants to work anymore,” I make a mental note of this misguided comment. Every day in America, 155 million people work despite the cumulative challenges life brings their way.   

I hear many people conclude from the vantage point of their phone, laptop, or television that the world is falling apart. I believe this statement squarely misses the reality of the human experience. Look for the opposite, and you will find it. The world is being held together at every turn, by people rising above the realities of a finite life in a finite world.

I agree with Emma. We do hard things. And we do them with grace and pride.

We humans are amazing.

Love and light to you on this day and all days.

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