Have you ever seen an advice on internets encouraging you to WORK HARD? I bet you have. Have you ever seen people, who worked hard all their life and have nothing? Have you ever seen people who seem to be slackers but have great lives?
That’s confusing. So, should I work hard or not? Does it lead to success or not? Or maybe that is only a waste of effort and energy?
I will do my best to explain you, what I saw observing successful and unsuccessful people. And to answer the question: “So, how should I work if not hard?“
What is work?
Let’s deal with the question step by step.
So, what is work? When I make food, is that work or not? If I do that in my kitchen? If I do that in a restaurant for money? If I repair my car is that work or not? Or if someone’s else car?
That is a deep question that might spark endless unnecessary discussion. Let’s agree that work is a thing to do for a reward. I make the food and later I can eat it. That’s a reward. I study in the university and then I get a diploma. That’s a reward. I am writing a book and later I will get money for it. That’s a reward too. So, these things can be called work.
What is hard work?
Now we know what is work. The next question is what is HARD WORK? Seems quite clear – a hard work is such a work when you need lots of energy to do it. Easy work is the one you don’t need that much. And now everything complicates:
But what if you have lots of energy? Is everything easy then? What if you don’t have that much? Is everything hard then? That means the work itself is neither hard nor easy. It depends on the person doing it.
What is more, the works might be different. One enjoys managing a bunch of people, while for others making a phone call is a nightmare. One enjoys analyzing some kind of report, while others are unable to concentrate their attention for more than 5 minutes. One draws portraits while others are unable to even hold the pencil.
So, If we follow the advice to “work hard”, we should choose the work that we absolutely suck at and maybe even hate. I promise you – you will work really really hard! Will you succeed or achieve anything? I doubt that.
Well, there are some professions that are really well paid, and you can live a decent life even if you suck at them and maybe even hate. (Just think about a person who hates what he does, but cannot change anything because of money.)
But I don’t think that’s the life people want. They want to enjoy what they do, be successful, grow, apply their strengths. So, how should we work?
This blogger wrote a long article arguing that hard work is a way to personal development, a benefit for society, and you can learn to love the work.
The other (a bit more famous) argues that it is enough to work 4 hours a week. With whom do you agree?
Donald Trump asks: How does somebody that’s sleeping 12 and 14 hours a day compete with someone that’s sleeping three or four?
And finally we have the “enlightening” advice which authorship I was unable to discover: Do what you love and the money will follow.
Everyone has their opinion. To reveal something that might resemble the truth we need to raise the right question.
Do successful people really work hard?
First of all, people will not necessarily succeed if they work hard. Sometimes after years of hard work, everything that they have is … more hard work. I say this boldly and confidently because I know such people among my friends and relatives. Maybe they had different circumstances, different possibilities, lived in different times, but they are enough for me to stop believing the “hard work” advice. Why my grandma does not have millions? She worked hard, 7 days a week 10 hours a day as much as I remember.
Now let’s talk about Trump. Do you believe that he tortures himself by sleeping 4 hours a day? Does he struggle to make decisions and multi-million contracts? (The article was written in those old time when he was not a president.) My experiments with ultra strict diet and schedule let me reduce the sleeping time to 6 hours. Less sleep harms productivity. So, I guess he has natural ability to sleep 4 hours, otherwise he’d be already hospitalized. And he has a natural ability to make big decisions, otherwise, he’d be in the asylum already.
Let’s see the situation of fourhourworkweek.com author Tim Ferriss. Does he really work 4 hours a week only? That’s a lie, marketing trick. He works 7 days a week by doing things that bring him benefits – engages his audiences and helps him to sell his book and other things. That is his job. Would that be easy or hard for you?
Do really famous musicians get all their money for a 2-hour show? They spent lots of time in the studio doing rehearsals. That is their real job.
Do really famous sportsmen earn money for a 45-minute game? They do lots of training, squeeze their last drops of energy, risk getting an injury and damaging their health. That is their real job.
It might seem that someone works easily. But in reality, their work is hard. Sometimes it might seem that someone is working hard, but they are just enjoying their things. The reality is something like this:
We never know if that is hard for them or they just apply their natural talents.
I believe, that the most successful people worked A LOT on the RIGHT things – from the early morning to the late night. But not necessarily hard. Maybe that was even easy.
Why shouldn’t we work hard?
Now let’s dive into the world of imagination. Don’t worry, that will be simple. But I want you to answer this question yourself.
Imagine that you have two rooms and you want to paint their walls. You hire two painters. One works hard and is exhausted at the end of the day. The other works easily and does all the job before lunch and leaves early. Which one will you fire?
I’d fire the one who works hard, and pay more for the one who works easily, so he could finish all the work alone.
Which businessman will earn more money, the one who works hard or the one who enjoys solving problems?
Bill Gates once said: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
I hope you already see the answer. And the answer is that if you work hard, all of them who find the easy way do to things will do better than you.
How should I work?
Picking the RIGHT work to do is a tricky thing. This is my suggestion:
Do hard things easily
It would be perfect if you would find a job that is hard for everyone else, but easy for you. Success guaranteed!
If one puts all their effort to do the work that is hard, they will burn lots of energy, but all those enjoying things will bypass them. If you work a lot and concentrate your effort on things you are already good at – you will bypass others.
How easily the conductor leads the orchestra. How easily the weightlifters lift their weights. How easily politicians lie! How easily LeBron James dunks. How easily a bookkeeper fills the documents. Seems easy, right?
One more thing. If you will try to do your best about things you don’t like, everyone will trust you in that field and you will get more tasks you don’t like. If you do your best about things you like, everyone will trust you in that field and you will get more tasks you like.
Every time you have the chance to choose – think about that. Be it search for a job, applying for university or any other decision in life. If you have the chance to choose, then don’t pick the thing that is easy for everyone. Not the hard, but a well-paid thing. Pick the thing that seems hard for everyone, but you secretly know, that you can do it well. Grab it, life does not always grant you such a chance!
Good luck in your choices!