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The myth of hard work

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

We were taught that with hard work only comes success. We were taught that if we want to become happy, fulfilled, successful, important and people of real value, we had to work our asses off every single day, put in an enormous hours of work, always try to stay ahead of competition and to keep doing that even after we achieve our goals so that we stay at the top.

This method no longer works. A lot of people have achieved their goals through hard work but at what expense? They still don’t feel happy, they still don’t feel fulfilled, they still don’t feel enough, and they keep going trying to reach a destination that seems to only go further.

If you are not happy during the process, probably you won’t be happy after the achievement. You’ll just feel satisfied, but that satisfaction won’t last long and soon enough you’ll feel the emptiness within you.

“The process of becoming is better than being. Set big goals and learn to love the work that gets you to them. Even if you fall short you’ll still be winning” - Des Linden

This is something that a lot of people experience today. They think that something material, something outside of them will fill the hole within them and make them feel enough, make them feel valuable and make them feel fulfilled and satisfied. This is an illusion.

We are the only ones that can fill our emptiness within, we are the only ones that can make ourselves feel worthy and we are the only ones that can make ourselves fulfilled. Nothing material can make that for you.

Every accomplishment outside of you is going to be short-lived. Don’t wait for a future event to feel happy and whole. You can feel that right now. The main purpose of our goals anyway is the feeling behind their achievement and not their goals themselves.

That feeling is available to you right now. I’m not suggesting to give up everything. What I’m suggesting is to change the way you approach your goals and life without that hard work mentality.

Big success is a result of small successes, small daily accomplishments that don’t have to be big and hard to do. Breaking a goal into the smallest and easiest action that you can take immediately is how you start, how you stick to it and how you accomplish big goals.

You don’t have to and you cannot actually accomplish something if you are in rush of accomplishing it. The results that you’ll get will be mediocre.

If you want to write a book for example, focus on the smallest and easiest thing that you can do right now. It might be writing a paragraph. Focus on writing a paragraph a day and forget about the book. When you get used to it and you feel that you can do more, start writing a page per day. Don’t think about the end product at all. Keep your focus only on the daily tasks.

If you want to get fit, focus on the smallest and easiest thing that you can do right now. 5 pushups? Go for a walk? Not eating that cookie? Whatever it is focus on that only. When you get used to it and feel that you can do more, start doing more. Forget about the ideal body and focus only on the daily tasks.

Whatever you end goal is forget it and focus only on the daily tasks that will take you there anyway. When you change your mindset from goal oriented to systems oriented, not only you’ll find it very easy and enjoyable to work on your project, you can work on many projects at the same time as well.

You’ll have more energy and be motivated to continue once you get into the habit of accomplishing your daily tasks. Small incremental daily wins add up and lead to exponential results, without you having to worry all the time when are you going to arrive to the final destination, the accomplishment of your goal.

Hard work anyway is hard because of the stress and the rashness. You can do more, be more productive and get better results if you are relaxed and do the necessary daily work without attachments and without being in rush and in stress.

Being in stress changes nothing but makes things worse over time, not only for the project and the team that you’re working with, but for yourself as well.

Hard work is mental. You can do so much more physically when your mental state is in check, when you are relaxed and know that these systems that you have adopted, the daily tasks, will take care of the results for you. Worrying was wired in us and made think that who ever was worried or in rush was productive.

When I adopted the systems mindset, and stopped being in stress and in rush in my job, my boss thought that I didn’t care anymore. The reality was, I was doing more and getting better results but because I didn’t looked worried they thought that I’m not trying and I don’t care anymore.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems” - James Clear

That’s how the world is wired. People think that being in stress is productive. That’s not sustainable and not healthy. When you forget about end goals and adopt the systems mindset, and when you forget about results and focus only on the daily tasks, big results come as a byproduct anyway, and you stay healthy and motivated to go even further.

Bottom line is, don’t stress, don’t rush. Just focus on the daily work that will take you where you want to go, and enjoy the process. Don’t work hard, but smart.


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