There are two ways of reaching your goals:
1. You (X) move towards the goal (Y), (X--->Y)
2. The goal (Y) moves towards you (X), (X<---Y)
Strategy 1: You move towards the goal
In this scenario, the assumption is "there" is better than "here," and to that end, you work hard and exert a generous amount of effort to bring that reality to life. This is your typical approach, which feels like an obligation, something you have to do to get what you want (no-pain-no-gain). There's little if any joy associated with this path. This approach is comfortably dissatisfying.
Strategy 2: The goal moves towards you
In this scenario, you realize happiness is not outside of you and rather than hustle to reach your goals, you balance your lifestyle, drawing this reality to you. This is an atypical approach, which feels like an opportunity, something you get to do to express your values (no-pain-all-gain). Since you want to do this, joy is at the foundation of this endeavor. This approach is uncomfortably satisfying.
When it comes to goals, the few people who reach them, have tremendous difficulty sustaining them, making strategy 2 (smart work over hard work) a clear choice. However, notice there is pain associated with both approaches, one based on known misery and the other, unknown joy. The takeaway is: Pain is part of the deal.
Pain creates tension and tensions causes transformation--don't avoid the pain!
"Strategy is about making decisions, understanding tradeoffs and deliberately choosing to be different." Michael Porter