The things we value most are...
If someone were to hand you a trophy with your name and "world's best swimmer" engraved on it when you couldn't swim to save your life, would it mean anything to you? Of course not. You didn't earn it, so it holds no value.
If losing weight were as easy as waving a magic wand, do you think one would still feel the same sense of accomplishment as they would upon completing an intense weight-loss program? Not at all.
It's one thing to get something done -- it's another to overcome an arduous challenge that tests our patience and mettle.
There's a reason most people blow their diets and New Year's resolutions and fail to get through law school and Ph.D. programs. When the going gets tough, many people buckle under the pressure and give up. That's precisely why reaching the finish line can be so gratifying.
If something comes too easy, though, we tend not to appreciate it as much. For example, when having to pick between two suitors, many people will be inclined to choose the person whose more of a challenge, appears less desperate, and has other love interests they can go with themselves.
Subconsciously, they're left thinking they came away with the biggest prize -- one they had to work harder to reel in.
President Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty...I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well."
It's true that some people are less ambitious than others and prefer taking the easiest road. But there's no denying that anything from a compliment to an award feels all the more gratifying when we have to work our behinds off to earn it.