rebelling against low expectations

Don’t Get Distracted


At a nursing home the other day, I noticed this scenario develop:

An elderly gentleman with mental confusion was concerned that his old pickup truck was outside with the windows open. He put on his coat and was headed for the door when one of the employees, Rajan, walked up to him.

The patient explained his concerns, and Rajan, seeing that the gentleman was not to be dissuaded, only said, “Okay man, but first just sit down over here and rest a few minutes.”

When the old gentleman protested that his truck really needed attention, Rajan rejoined, “Just sit here a minute for me, man. We’ve got a show for you to watch.” To my surprise, the man forgot all about his truck as soon as he sat down and turned his attention to something else.

Thinking about it later, I realized that’s the exact same tactic Satan uses to keep us from doing hard things. When we have a great idea and we’re so on fire that Satan knows he can’t scare us away, he tries distracting us, using lines like:

“So, you’re all excited about this. So what? …Oh look, you can get a sneak peek at the next Hunger Games movie! And there’s another trailer you just have to watch – everybody else will have seen it by the time you see them next week.”

“So you need to work on school tonight, do you? Jake’s inviting everyone over to his house for pizza, remember?”

And then before you know it, you’ve forgotten all about your Rebelutionary idea and you’re back to your everyday distracted life. To quote C.S. Lewis, “active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often [a man] feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”

So next time you’re given a Rebelutionary idea, whether it’s doing the dishes when it’s not your job, getting a “real” job, writing a book, or organizing a political campaign, if you don’t let yourself get distracted, you’ve won half the battle already.

What are some of the distractions that get to you?

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 8 Comment(s)

Photo courtesy of Surat Lozowick and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Laura Owens

is a homeschooled sophomore from the East Coast. She is the third-youngest of eight children and she loves every minute of it! When she's not working on school or her part-time job, she can be found writing, reading, singing, speaking Spanish, or hanging out with friends and family.


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  • This is funny timing because I just sat down to do some schoolwork and was like “why don’t I check out the Rebelution real quick. Getting distracted? Who me??? Naw, never.” 😛 So I’ll keep it brief – thanks for writing, Grace! 🙂

    • Waaaait a minute….Grace Owens…have I heard that name used in connection with a certain mime before? If not then I’ll feel really stupid. 😉

      • No… the same name was removed for privacy reasons. But now it’s okay. FYI Owens isn’t my real last name.

          • haha yes. when I first got on here I wondered if I would be an odd one for using a pseudonym… then I saw mimeforJesus and felt comfortable. So thanks! 🙂

          • You’re very welcome 🙂 I kinda wondered myself, but there was no way I was using my real name so I used mimeforJesus anyway. Then I saw all of the other pseudonyms, like defyingdepravity and… I can’t remember anyone else at the moment…

          • But looking through the archives, I saw the hubbub when you changed it! Wait, the second time…?

          • So you were “programguy” then “Sam the programguy” then “Sam S.”? And you had candy corn all that time?! You’re devoted… Although by now I would expect to see French toast!

          • Hey! I stole someone else’s picture for my first profile pic… *guilty, sad face*

    • I must say. I think that distractions come in many forms, most of them thriving off of selfishness. For instance many teen girls struggle with vanity, I think, and many guys struggle with lust, I know. Both are manifestations of the same problem… selfishness. Unfortunately, it is often encouraged by their peer “friends.” So the counter to this is self discipline and complete devotion to God “daily,” like some of the other rebelutionaries pointed out to me.

      • Yep! And a lot (some say all) sins can be traced back to pride – for example, selfishness says, “I deserve so-and-so” which comes back to pride. Also, the first sin on record (not Adam’s, Satan’s-Isaiah 14:12-15) was pride (although I guess you could say that Adam’s did too…he wanted to become like God).

        • I like your point, Josh A. I would also like to get people’s thoughts on whether God omnitemporal.
          Not bound by time. I think this to be consistent with God and His Word. Any thoughts on this?

          • Yeah, I agree; I think he created time and exists outside of time but can enter time (if that makes sense). The only verses I could find right now about this topic are Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 22:13. 🙂

          • I once heard a saw a video of a debate between a famous creationist who had been in prison for his faith before, and 3 atheists. (no, I have NOT had a chance to see Ken Hamm vs Bill Nigh)
            He said God created time and space but was outside of time and space.
            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” -Jesus

          • I think, I know who you are talking about. He is good, but a little rough. I think, you should give the Ken Ham / Bill Nigh debate, if your into that sort of thing. Even if you are not into that sort of thing, it may open up eyes, just a bit, to what is out there. 🙂

        • Well I guess I could try… I am not the greatest grammarian. I would fear that I might be too blunt, and I would not want to unintentionally offend anyone. :/ I don’t know… maybe.

          • I don’t think you need to worry about offending us; we’re pretty resilient 🙂
            Please do! I want to see what you write; your questions have been pretty deep.

          • I have plenty of time to write (I done gradgeated the 12 grade), but It may take me awhile to put my thoughts together. I will see what I can do about putting an article together. I have never done anything like that before… but hey… worth a try.

          • You gradgreated? Cool 🙂
            It’s scary at first, but in the end it all comes together… this post was actually the first thing I wrote that even remotely resembled it, and the Reb actually published it!

  • This is an awesome article! Especially since I need to stop procrastinating and get back to work….. XD Thanks for the reminder!

  • Short and sweet and to the point! Just remember to check with God to make sure if what you want to do is in His will. Sometimes, God can use those other things (they may be distractions) to deter us from doing things that aren’t in His plan. Now, if you know without a doubt that you are in God’s plan, then definitely go for it and don’t let the devil tempt you. Just make sure that things are set with God first.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

      • Actually no, I just haven’t seen as many new articles on here recently. How have you been? My brother recently submitted a short film to a Youth Fine Arts festival and we were accepted to Nationals! It’s about a girl trying to find her way back to God. I’m the bully that doesn’t make things any easier for her. I don’t know if I’ve ever asked this, but what denomination are you?

        And hey, good to see you on here again as well!

        • Awesome! Let me know where you end up 🙂
          Bully, really? Somehow I don’t think that fits you… but that’s the fun of acting, right? I love acting bad… but for some reason I never get cast that way.
          Let me think… No denomination. I was in a Penecostal (I think) church for a while, then in a Southern Baptist church, then a nondenominational church, then I’m in an officially-Mennonite-but-not-really-Mennonite church right now.
          Basically we go wherever we feel at home with the people and the teaching 🙂 We also considered a Presbyterian church at one point… Note: We moved churches when we had to, not just because we didn’t like the carpet color 😛
          What about you?

          • Well, I’m usually the most intimidating person around. You know, I’m a little bigger than most of my cousins and some my friends (the people we make movies with). I’m usually the bad guy but no more! I am finally getting a lead role as a Sherlock Holmes type character in our next movie that we’re making this summer! Unfortunately, none of our videos are public domain…yet. Whenever they go public, I’ll be sure to let you know.

            I’ve always been in Pentacostal churches. My parents appreciate the teachings of those churches, plus they feel comfortable with the accountability in place. Yeah, I guess since you move a lot, you would have to change churches a lot. Makes sense. I really enjoy Pentacostal churches as well, not just my parents. They just seem to be more engaging to me than the typical Baptist or Mennonite church. I don’t mean to bash those other churches, we’re all God’s children, I just feel like AG/ Pentacostal is less on formalities and bigger on good services.

            I think I read somewhere that you’re moving. How far from where you are now and how are you taking it? Or maybe you’re not moving at all…?

          • Yeah, my family used to attend a Pentecostal church, but we couldn’t find one that preached the Bible (not saying yours doesn’t of course =) ) and we disagreed with some things that would take too long to get into. Now we go to a church that has “Bible” in its name lol.

          • I’m not exactly sure what some branches of Pentacostal churches teach, but I’m part of the branch called Assemblies of God. All the AG churches I’ve been to have kept to the teaching of the Bible pretty well.

          • I went to a church with “Bible” in its name too! Until we moved away from it…

          • Yes! Let me know!

            Would you mind telling me the difference between Pentecostal and Charismatic? If there is one… I know more about the Charismatic churches so if you can tell me where you’re similar and where you’re different, I’ll understand you better 🙂 And believe me, the Baptist and Mennonite churches are not normal Baptist/Mennonite churches. It took me a very short time going to some other Baptist churches to figure out that much, and I knew from the get-go that our current church is not at all Mennonite. I actually don’t even know that we have “Mennonite” in our name anymore… And I don’t like formality… it’s really constricting!

            Yep, I’m probably moving… over 1,000 miles! I’m actually excited about it now… most of the time. It took a while to accept it, but now it’s okay. One of those times where it’s important to remember that God’s in control, and it’ll turn out how He wants it to regardless of how I feel about it.

          • I think that Pentacostals fall under the Charismatic branch of Christianity, so yes, they’re very similar. At least, that’s what I’m getting based on what I’ve read. And I suppose that just because a church says Baptist or Mennonite in the name doesn’t necessarily mean that it falls under those heads completely.

            Wow! 1,000 miles! I moved a couple years ago, but we only moved down the street! I don’t know how I would feel about that. It seems like your handling it fine, but if you want me to pray for a smooth transition, I can do that. Happy moving!

          • Okay… I see now 🙂

            Prayer would be greatly appreciated! It’s hard for me to handle this because in large part, I’m doing this without my family to talk to. My thinking is, they’re excited about this opportunity, and I don’t want to rain on their parade. And this move is different for me than I think it is for them; I could easily see living here my whole life if I had the choice, whereas most of them see our current state as one more stop on the way to… wherever they end up.
            And, in case you were wondering, it’s official now – so long as my dad and his employers can come to an agreement on salary, we’re moving, probably in early-mid May after my sister graduates from college.

  • Oh dear… *mind floods with a deluge of things i should be doing right now*… This is a really good reminder, Laura. Being focused on the right things is so important. Thanks for the article 🙂

  • Love that quote by C.S. Lewis! The first time I heard it was when Brett shared it in DHTU. Are you in the class as well? I think I remember there being a Laura. *smiles*

    Yes, this is so true. I get very distracted by the things you mentioned. I usually end up frustrated with myself at how I can get off track and choose something easier over the hard things.

    Here is a example of a distraction in my life: People have watched The Hunger Games for years–I’ve heard them talk about it, etc. I finally watched the first one and Mocking Jay-Part 1 this past week. I couldn’t believe the ending of the latter!!! Wow, that was not fair. It kept me and my siblings very distracted discussing how we thought the next one would end/be like, etc. (for days!!).

    In the end, I have to keep in mind that while entertainment is fun, it is not lasting. I have been convicted by a message on Sunday that talked about letting our life be marked by substantial, kingdom things.

    The ultimate thing that matters is serving the Lord while staying focused on our task, goal or calling He has place in front of us!

    • Haha, this is why I’m waiting for all the movies to be out before I watch the Hunger Games! I don’t feel terribly patient when in suspense…

      • That’s an excellent plan! Fortunately, when I read people’s blog posts about the movies I didn’t know who any of the characters were, so it wasn’t a spoiler for me. If I saw anything now, though, it would be different…

        • I read the books, so I ultimately know what happens… but it’s still very suspenseful when you’re watching movies!

          • FYI, There are some big changes in the movie. They took out many of my favorite scenes. Come to think of it, I really liked most of the scenes they took out. 🙁

          • Ya they did make some changes in the movie. I recently saw part 1 of the Mockingjay. It was pretty good, except for that they left out some good parts that were in the book. 🙁

    • Hey, I’m Laura 🙂 I’m not in the class. I wish I was, but I didn’t know about it. I hope to do DHTU sometime, though! I found this quote online, after I remembered that I’d read it from C. S. Lewis somewhere.

      “The ultimate thing that matters is serving the Lord while staying focused on our task, goal or calling He has placed in front of us!” I love how you put that…
      And when I watched the first Hunger Games it was the main subject of conversation for my older siblings and I, too. Very interesting premise…

    • What is Do Hard Things University?
      I have seen several people talking about it on here but have no idea what it is, except that Brett runs it…

  • The only thing that was a bit fuzzy to me was: C.S. Lewis, “active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive
    ones are weakened. The more often [a man] feels without acting, the less
    he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be
    able to feel.”

    What is C.S. Lewis suggesting? Is he suggesting we act on our feelings? If so I can not agree with this. Feelings are renown for leading people to destruction. We must act on what is right vs. what we feel to be right.

  • Good job, Laura! A great topic to write on. I have ADD, so distraction is huge for me. Mostly my distractions are on the Internet. It’s challenging to fight the temptation, especially when it comes to the school assignment that I definitely do NOT want to do. I’m still getting surprised by how much easier it is to do things when I make it a point NOT to distract myself.

  • Good post by the way. Good point. The C.S. Lewis thing was the only thing I still do not understand. What is he saying in that? Sorry, I just have to be the critic. 😀

    • He was saying that the more you think of something and don’t act on it, the less you’ll act on your ideas in the future. Then, in the long run, the less you’ll come up with ideas. That’s the way I interpreted it…

  • I love this!
    “Procrastinator” is sort of my middle name. Sometimes at the end of the day I feel discouraged because I kept getting distracted and got nothing done. I’m often distracted by my phone, blogs, ect…. I can be distracted by something as simple as a Lego. Its so bad.
    This post is very encouraging, and I love that C.S. Lewis quote! That guy has some great stuff. 🙂

  • Whoops! I fell for that one today! Thank you; I should recognize this temptation with as often as I fall for it, but I need the reminders. Good post!

  • Awesome post, Laura! 😉 hehe. I read it on SOG a while ago, but it stands true & a good reminder. I’m fighting against it Every. Single. Day. But in the long run, it’s the best 🙂

  • Great article @mimeforjesus:disqus! (I also remember this from Soldiers of God) It is a daily struggle to stay focused and committed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I suddenly have a great many things to do…

  • Like others have said, I think I remember this from Soldiers of God. This is really important to realize because Satan does this, to Christians especially, all the time. I have learned to always be on my guard for anything that distracts, and I’m really bad with that….Great job @mimeforjesus:disqus!

  • My distractions? Wow – this is a really good article. Thank you so much, Laura, for writing this! I have a problem with getting distracted on the internet… thanks for the timely reminder!!! 😀 God is so good…

  • Hunger Games! I really like that series. As you can probably guess, THG is a major distraction for me. Believe it or not, I also get distracted by writing. I write fanfiction, and sometimes, I get an idea and start writing, even when I’m supposed to be doing homework (I’m homeschooled, so this is a MAJOR problem).

  • @mimeforjesus:disqus I just came back to this post and realized from the comments that you wrote this… guess I’m slow… haha good job!

  • I get so distracted by the internet and other things. A good reminder that I need to be conquering distractions, and doing hard things in my daily life, even if those hard things are just my homework every day. If we can’t do even these “little” hard things in our daily life, how can we expect to be able to one day do “big” hard things?

    • I have that same problem… I want to do the “big” hard things, but I don’t exercise the self-discipline to keep my room clean.

      • Me too! Right now I’m sitting on my wheely chair in the midst of a tornado path. Sometimes you have to start small and work up from there, but sometimes the small things are even harder that the big things, you know?

        • And I thought I was the only one!!! I’ll clean the rest of the house, but my room just won’t stay clean longer than a week. It’s organized chaos. Doing little hard things is probably harder because it’s not as exciting and there’s rarely any “spiritual highs” coming from cleaning your room. 😛

          • “Spiritual highs” from cleaning my room… those would be awesome to have! It would make it much easier 🙂

          • Haha exactly!!! If that happened, we’d all be in our rooms all day long, reorganizing and cleaning everything over and over again with worship music playing in the background. XD

          • That would be amazing! I can just see myself upstairs cleaning, jamming out to Blimey Cow’s Worship Song…

          • Oh my… cleaning my room… I sit at my desk right now with clutter everywhere! Just remember that you can be so much more productive when you have the space to work and think!

        • Wheely chair? I don’t know that phrase. What is it?
          The small things are much harder, from what I’ve seen/heard/in some small way, done. Keeping the room clean is hard; teaching a group of 5- to 11-year-olds something is easy after that!

        • Oh, and welcome to the Rebelution! 😀
          We’re a Christ-centered group of teens who encourage and challenge each other to live for God and to Do Hard Things. (In case you were wondering…) If you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them for you!
          Glad to have you aboard!

      • Keeping my room clean and stuff organized is actually always among the top couple things on my “do hard things” planning list – cos it is never clean for longer than a day and a half………………and it messes up everything else.

        • Yes, yes, yes – same here.
          I know, right? Having a clean room makes everything else easier, but it’s so hard to keep that way. I did clean it up some this afternoon, though! Good thing is, I don’t get it really messy (unless my younger sister and I both work on it) so it doesn’t take that long to clean up. But carving those ten minutes out of each day…. it’s so hard!
          A planning list… good idea!

          • Ikr?! And high five on the room cleaning! 😉 I did some last night. 🙂

            Yeah, that’s what Alex and Brett recommended at the end of the book. I tend to get so distracted and be so unorganized though, that my hard thing was just to get my life organized and get on track…. Then I could focus on some other big hard thing.

          • Good thinking… (And how did I miss that? I’ve read through Do Hard Things so often!)

  • I get distracted by excuses and things like technology even though I don’t have a phone. That and books.

  • You know, you have a really good [squirrel!] point about distractions. They can [squirrel!] really get in the way and [squirrel!] stop you from doing many things. Maybe I should [squirrel! Wow! that’s four already! are there more? maybe there will be a baby one! or a purple one with green polka dots!]
    Now, what was I saying?

    • Yeah, I agree! It’s really hard… to not…. Oh wow, look at all those squirrels! We must be near a forest or something. 😛

          • My siblings were recently quoting that one joke for days, after they watched “Up” for the first time.

          • Lol, I’m sure that became tiresome. You know those medical dog cone things? I’ve never known what they’re actually called, but after watching that movie we always call them the “cone of shame”.
            Despite its silliness (squirrel!), it really is a genuinely sweet movie.

          • It is a sweet movie. I haven’t seen it in forever, but I do remember it was awesome in every way!

          • I actually started quoting it along with them…
            Oh, I forgot about the cone of shame! I haven’t watched that movie in years; my siblings watched it while I was gone.

          • Aw, that’s neat! I think Up is one of those movies that you can watch over and over again (to a certain point, of course). Some movies are good, but I don’t feel the need to watch them more than once, you know?

          • Unlike my grandaughter, who watched Frozen 50 zillion times. Then she got the sing-along CD for the car… Then she got a music box, that plays, you guessed it… LET IT GO!!!

            So I changed the words while she sings it,
            “Let it go!

            Let it go!
            Don’t sing that song no moe!”

            She rolls her eyes at that point.
            She’s 4. It’s cute… For now… LOL!!

          • Aw! That does sound cute. But yeah, Let It Go gets old really fast… That’s a movie I don’t need to see more than once (or twice).

    • If you can show me a purple squirrel with green polka dots, I’ll grant you a special exception to the “Don’t Get Distracted” rule. How’s that?
      Squirrel! (But I like chipmunks better myself…)

  • That was so great, Laura! Thanks for sharing! (And I LOVE C.S. Lewis!)

    I get distracted by little projects and emailing and commenting (did I…say that?) when I should be doing something else, and writing when I shouldn’t and reading when I shouldn’t and reading my sister’s texting conversations (…..did I really say that, too…?) when I really, really shouldn’t……….

    The worst are spiritual distractions, though. When I am supposed to be having my devotions, even my math test is a distraction….

    • I’m not the only person who finds text conversations interesting? Wow… I’m not alone! Yeah, writing has been a real problem for me, especially because my mom said I’m allowed to write during school time. Now I have to decide not to write ____ because I need to work on real school, instead of telling myself that I can’t “because mom says no”.
      I know your pain… Math tests can become really interesting given the right context!

          • Wait…this is you? That’s awesome! (You have a name! 😉 ) Let me just say again how much I enjoyed this article! 🙂

            That’s awesome! Yes I love to write. I write some poetry, and fiction mostly. My non-fiction writing is in the form of speeches for my speech and debate club right now but I hope to do more of that some day as well.

            What sort of fiction do you write, may I ask?

          • Yeppers, this is me 🙂 I know, I have a name! It’s really awesome… 😉

            Oh, wow! You write poetry and fiction! I wish there was a way we could compare writing styles…

            Recently I’ve been writing more poetry/stuff like this article, but when I’m writing fiction, I write basically whatever I feel like… Like, right now I’m in the middle of a book-length story about a couple of teenagers and Muslim jihadists, but I’ve written shorter stories in fantasy worlds, on Earth, even some fanfiction. What about you?

          • 😉 That’s awesome! I often write historical fiction and sometimes some fantasy – no-magic, just a different world. I haven’t finished anything of any consequence yet but I’m working on it. I know, I wish we could compare styles too! Hmmm…. If I create on alias for my email, can I give it to you? Then we could share stuff that way…. If you feel weird doing that, just tell me – it was a random idea. 😉

          • Sorry, I’m not supposed to email people I’ve met on here… it would be fun, though!
            Wish it would work :/

          • No problem. 🙂 That’s sounds like a wise decision – I totally understand 🙂 Yeah…maybe we will cross paths someday or something – you never know! 😉 (Btw, I love your new name!)

          • I just had a flash of inspiration! I assume you’ve heard of Revive, which Sam S and Ethan H have put together… Well, if you join over there, I think we could “message” each other through our accounts, and we could discuss writing stuff over there! What do you think?
            Hey @programguy:disqus and @Ethan__H:disqus , is this an okay use of Revive, or is this not what you two were looking for?

          • Yes I have heard of Revive and have really been looking forward to it. All the work and commitment that Sam and Ethan have devoted to it has been awesome! (God bless you guys!!) I didn’t know it had been launched yet though – is it already up and running?

  • To be honest, I am not easily distracted; I am purposely setting aside my dreams and plans because I sometimes feel I am not enough to see those through. But then again, with every project and work that I do, God sustains me and reminds me that it’s not about me–it’s about Him using me! It’s His strength and grace that matters! And, oh boy! We know how both are endless, right? So yeah… distraction’s not my problem; it’s my mortal self forgetting who I am serving and working for. But He’s very patient with me, and I’ll be forever grateful with that! ^____^

  • ..i am easily distracted. take now for instance when im supposed to be writing an english paper. oops..

    • Hey Hope! How are you doing with music? Really random, but I wanted to ask 🙂 I’m still praying for you!

  • I don’t know if I’m repeating anything but I recently talked about this very problem. What distracts us is totally and undeniably up to us. We make the decisions to be distracted and not help ourselves. We cannot let ourselves get distracted! The funny thing is, the road we walk (spiritually) is entirely straight. All we have to do is keep our eyes on the goal and keep walking. When we look away, get distracted, all we see is the “pretty things”. Things that will cause us to lose focus and get ourselves away from the path that we are supposed to walk. When we see the “pretty” path, the one of this world, then we forget and leave the easiest path for the one that twists and turns. I’m glad for friends. They help me stay focused, determined, and fired up for God. Without them, as well as my family, I would surely fail.

    • “The road we walk is entirely straight.” That’s a good way to put it! It’s just when we turn that we run into problems.

  • Thank you for posting this. I read it, and now I’m mad, but in a good way. I have recently described myself as the most efficient procrastinator I know; I have the good intentions, but I’ve been failing the battle a lot recently. YouTube is sort of my vice, although I can be distracted by anything. Getting back on the battlefield now!

    • You’re very welcome! I’ll be praying that you succeed in your battle against procrastination!

  • Wow. I just don’t know where to start. I feel like I want to do something for God, but I don’t know what his plan is for me. I don’t want to do something if He’s not there backing me up. That was a powerful post though, and I feel a need to be more active.

    • Often, the hard things we have to do before we actually do the “Big Hard Things”, are things like washing the dishes when we don’t want to, or working toward an A on a school assignment rather than sliding by with a B. I know what you mean, I too want to do hard things but sometimes i don’t know where to start.
      Have you checked the “Get Involved” tab up at the top right of the page? (It’s under “About”) Maybe there’s something there you can do! 🙂
      If you want to talk about it, I’d be happy to!
      And are you new to the Rebelution? If so, welcome!
      Oh, and I’m the one who wrote this article — thank you!

By Laura Owens
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →