What if working harder isn't working

Why “Hustling More” or “Working Your Face Off” Isn’t The Only Answer

I don’t want to work hard.

I’m more than willing to work hard and I do think I have a better work ethic than most people. And I’m more than willing to put in hard work to get where I want to go. But there are certain situations, where I don’t want to work hard. And I shouldn’t. And neither should you.

Let me explain:

Yes, Will Smith said that the only trait that he had that others didn’t was his disgustingly unstoppable work ethic. See the video below for proof:

And I completely agree with him.

Yes, Elon Musk has said in many interviews that he got his company ahead by working twice as long as his competitors and therefore accomplishing the same goals in half the time. Elon recommends anyone to work harder to increase their chances of success. And I agree with him as well.

But I have read too many articles, watched too many interviews, and seen too many stories of people who have compromised their health or family time in search of money or “success.” And guess what happens? They end up finding that it was not worth it. They regret their decision, and sometimes, they are realize they’re not much happier.

I’m not saying not to work hard. I am saying that in certain situations, you have to consider first if hard work is really the answer.

Now, as I have observed young people, they usually fall into two groups when it comes to working hard:

  1. The first group thinks they work hard or admits that they don’t. They usually work a standard 40 hour week and spend the other 128 hours of the week, sleeping, watching TV, or other unproductive activities. Some even complain that they have no time (when they do but just don’t use it well).
  2. The second group are the hustlers. They can work 60 to 90 hour weeks. Some have bought into the American philosophy of “go, go, go” (which is pervasive everywhere). And some of them sacrifice too much to get to a goal.

This article is not targeted to the first group. A great way to test if you fall into that group is to record what you’re doing every minute of a day (and you have to do it with brutal honesty). I’ve done this myself and realized I waste hours on social media. An average person can waste 2 to 4 hours a day on 5 minute time wasters here and there.

Today, I’m talking to the second group of over-achievers who truly work hard. They can do 12 hour+ days.

Hard Work Is Not As Rare As You Think. Work Smarter.


Quite frankly, hard workers are not that rare. Yes, they are rare in the sense that maybe 1 in 200 people can get to that level, but that’s still not rare considering there are billions of people in the world.

Working hard is not enough.

I have seen people on every level of the income ladder who are “working hard.” There are people putting in 11+ hour days but making minimum wage, $50k a year, $100k a year, $100k a month, seven figures a month, and so on. Clearly, there’s something else going on.

I think hard work has been over-emphasized.

How come some people can rise to very highest levels of income while others make a fraction of what they make despite being no smarter?

Try working smarter. The minimal wage worker is not even spending any time to consider how he can make more money. Rather than pushing the same buttons day in and day out, you should consider other income or business opportunities. You should invest in yourself and see what you can do better. You should spend less time at work and spend more time developing a skill that will make you more than minimum wage.

Realize That You Don’t Always Have To Sacrifice Health

I have listened to a lot of interviews and advice from successful millionaires and billionaires. I am not saying this to brag. I am saying this because I have seen a worrying pattern. Some have ended up with thyroid issues, stress related fatigue, skin conditions, and more.

One of them, Arianna Huffington, ended up writing a whole book on the importance of sleep after collapsing from exhaustion. Her whole message is that extra sleep can actually improve your success rather than hurt it. So you should stop doing these “3 hour sleep days.”

Dustin Moskovitz, the world’s youngest billionaire, wrote a Medium post that agrees. He says that he would have had less useless fights, more energy, and got there faster if he ate healthier food and took time away from work to go to the gym.

As you can see, these are not made up theories. Here is one of the most followed people on Instagram, Cara DeLevigne, talking about how she got skin and health issues from being overworked:

Sometimes, no one tells you or gives you the permission to rest. In Cara’s case, she was so used to being a desperate model that when she finally hit success, she couldn’t turn down the opportunities. This is a common mistake entrepreneurs make when they start getting well known and successful.

You have to learn to say no when you hit a threshold of success and opportunities. 

Want more examples? Here’s an article about a female entrepreneur who worked herself to death to get to $100,000 a month. During her journey, she overworked and stressed herself out so much that she left herself susceptible to future trauma wrecking her life. And that’s exactly what occurred: her grandfather died, which left her emotionally traumatized: http://www.femtrepreneur.co/blog/2015-year-in-review

Want more? The millionaire female entrepreneur Chalene Johnson developed health and fatigue issues from overwork. She had to look internally in herself and realize that she was trying to do everything because she wanted the credit. Once she learned to delegate and let go of that psychological need, her life became a lot easier.

The two biggest messages I want to share with my content are:

  1. You don’t need to destroy your health to get to your goals.
  2. Happiness doesn’t always come when you achieve the wealth or fame you desired. Be careful what you aim towards.

These are huge issues for me because I realize how many people chase them every year because they are brainwashed by modern society’s marketing to do so. They think it will bring them happiness, but it’s clear that’s not always the case as many successful people come out every year to say that they “made it there but nothing changed inside.” I’m not saying not to strive towards those goals, but realize what truly brings happiness and strive towards it for the right reasons.

It’s so important for me to spread this message because despite all the people coming out to talk about it, most young people are still unaware of it.

Yes, working hard is important, but it is the most common sense, well understood concept of Western society. While other countries like Italy or South America have siesta (also called naps) in the middle of the day, we work 20 hour days. You over-achievers know what “hustle is” is already.

But there’s something more important: your health, your relationships, and your true goals.  If you take care of yourself, you are healthier, have more energy, and can do more.

If your stress levels are low and you are relaxed, you live longer, perform better, and are happier. Maybe you can’t have it all, but maybe you can make the journey as enjoyable as the destination. Be patient.

In order to help others, you must help yourself first.

Footnotes: Studies That Support This

Athletes who increased the amount of sleep they got each night improved their athletic performance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119836/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119836/

People who slept less than 6 hours a night were 4 times more likely to catch a cold. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26118561

Aging is associated with decreased sleep duration. http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/08/11/brain.awu222.abstract?sid=ae78eec3-61f4-4960-a33f-599000ea4d3e

Sleep deprivation enhances sensitivity to both positive and negative experiences. http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(07)01783-6

Not sleeping enough (staying up for 17 hours straight) impaired performance in the same way as a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit would (BAC 0.05%). http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v388/n6639/abs/388235a0.html

Getting a good night’s sleep aids in the process of learning motor sequences, like playing the piano. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811914003875

Sleeping less than 5 hours a night for a week reduced testosterone levels in healthy young men.

And yet, we continue to live and brag about getting only 2 hours of sleep a night.

I see it all the time: high schoolers, college students, employees, CEO’s, and so on: “I’ll make up for my lack of sleep when I’m old.” or “Look at me! I only slept 2 hours last night. I’m so cool.”

What’s more cool is having less stress, feeling relaxed, enjoying life, and still getting a lot done.

There are reasons why some people can make billions of dollars even though they have same amount of hours in a day as you: 24.

Don’t kill yourself or permanently damage your health and well-being. Why the rush? Enjoy the journey.

If you’re not enjoying the journey, you have to ask yourself why. Maybe it’s a career or business you hate. Maybe you’re not interested enough in it. Maybe you’re motivated by the wrong reasons (money).

Maybe you are interested in all of this, but you’re a bit impatient. Why not be a little more patient, build a foundation, knowing that this will last and the results will come for decades to come?

None of this is new stuff. Every year celebrities and entrepreneurs come out and talk about this in speeches about this. They mention how they had to learn themselves to say No to requests because no one else told them they could.

Because of the opportunity and because others wanted to overwork them for their own financial gain.

Here’s an excerpt from Lady Gaga’s speech on this.

Unfortunately, millions of people will never learn this until they figure it out the hard way: decades of work later.

If you can incorporate other elements of success into your life, find something you love doing so it doesn’t feel like work, and give yourself the permission or time to relax and rejuvenate your body, you can make 10x the money, working 150% rather than 300%.

You don’t need to kill yourself.

Don’t forget to take time with your family. Don’t forget things that you will overlook and regret in the future, when people are gone.


Hard work is important and you should work really hard to increase your chances of success.


Don’t sacrifice unnecessary things like family time or your health for the pursuit of money, especially money you don’t need because you already have made enough.

You can get to a great amount of wealth without sacrificing these things. Don’t let people tell you otherwise.

Also, hard work alone is not enough. If it’s not working out, maybe you should think about how you can work smarter and be more strategic with what you do with your time.

What’s the 1 thing you are going to do differently after reading this? And if you’re a helpful person, share this with someone who would benefit from it.

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  • Peter

    April 11, 2016

    100% Agree. Tons of people always say to just work harder or work more but if you take time to rest and recharge the time you actually spend working will be more efficient and you’ll get more done anyways.

  • Adeel

    April 4, 2016

    Awesome article man!


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