As I have been poring over books on social anxiety, entrepreneurship, and nice guy qualities, I have come across a shocking realization…
Working harder is not always a symbol of achievement. Sometimes, it’s worn as one in disguise, but in reality, it’s an excuse to avoid doing something uncomfortable.
This is especially important because:
- Doing what makes you know needs to be done, even if it’s uncomfortable, is crucial for success in life.
- American society paints the hustler who works 18 hour days as a champion and therefore, it’s easy to hide under this lie.
One story from the book, No More Mr. Mice Guy, is a great illustration:
An accountant, who was the author’s client, was taught by his parents that money was the most important thing in life to success and happiness. Therefore, he spent the first 40 years of his life working non-stop, thinking that women would naturally come to him once he was rich…
Before long, he found himself in his 40’s and lacking any meaningful relationships with women. He had only gone on a handful of dates in his lifetime. And his social skills were lacking.
Yet he got a few promotions, right? That’s cool but the extra money he earned did not fulfill him or get him girls (not a shocker as he worked so many hours a day that there was no time to meet or talk to women).
This is a common problem and a chilling warning for your potential future and mine. In this day and age, the personal development industry is bombarded with stories of successful entrepreneurs and celebrities who have claimed that they got there by outworking Everyone else. Will Smith said he worked while others were sleeping, taking a break, or eating lunch.
Elon Musk said he worked 80 hours a week while others work 40 to get twice as much done in the same amount of time. Because of the stories, I believed that hard work was the key to success. But what if this isn’t always the case?
In this accountant story, he screwed over his social life because he worked too hard in his professional life. In his eyes, He did not succeed because we value the relationships, dating, and a future family, which working alone did not provide. I think the lesson is to still work hard but work in the right areas of life towards your goals.
The accountant should have taken some of his work effort and put it into working hard developing social relationships and meeting new people by going to social gatherings like improv classes, CrossFit classes or even just a local recreational sports league. Instead, he put it all into work, hoping that the extra money he made which somehow I tracked the people he wanted into his life. Unlike celebrities in certain lucky business executives, our careers don’t automatically force us to meet a lot of new people and naturally develop relationships.
The average person may be stuck in a cubicle or is slightly lonely your job with less social interactions or room for meeting any new people. Therefore, it’s really beneficial to actively in frequently check your goals and make sure your work effort is aligning towards achieving them. Accounting for all the factors in a balanced fulfilled life are crucial.
Work Smarter First
Mathematically, the best-case situation is if you work smarter and harder until you’re completely maxed out on time. One without the other will lead to inefficient performance.
By working smarter, I mean think of ways you can get the same result in a fraction of the time. Hire people who can do the a part of the job for you in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the pride, for example. Or come up with an invention that can deliver that result faster.
Ryan Lee is a millionaire entrepreneur that teaches other business owners how to run a successful online lifestyle business via Freedym.com. Nowadays, he lives a work on till noon work model. That means he wakes up moderately early and worked until noon. By noon, If you prioritize correctly as he should, he doesn’t have to do anything else to keep his successful business going. Sometimes, he still works afternoon for the fun of it but it isn’t necessary. This is in stark contrast to the popular entrepreneur or hustler model where you are expected to work 18 hours a day every day for the rest of your life.
I was watching a training video in Freedym that had Ryan Lee interviewing Elliott Hulse, another successful online entrepreneur, recently.
They both admitted that when they were younger, they burned themselves out by working themselves to death. Now, both have change their work life to have a more sustainable model for the long term. Elliot takes more breaks and works for less time on a daily basis. Ryan does something similar. I still wonder how they are able to still maintain a lead in their industry if they are working less than their competitors, which allows them to catch up. But perhaps they have a competitive advantage that they can strengthen by working smarter rather than harder.
The takeaway for me is that your work has to be sustainable. Only worked as hard as you can in a way that is sustainable for the long term.
One of the only ways I found it to be sustainable is if you enjoy it. Doing it for some other reason, like to get girls, will burn you out eventually.
One day, you’ll realize how much suffering you went through and look at what you had to do to get there — and ask yourself, “Did I do all that just for this?” — and you’ll quit.
Sometimes, this simply means taking rest breaks or weekends off. You could still be in an early stage of your career when you have yet to find your complete passion.
Therefore, so in activities will burn you out. Until then, you will keep testing in finding out what you like and don’t like about parts of your career and taking the necessary rest days or mini breaks so you don’t burn out.
Once you have finally found a career or a business that makes you want to tap dance out of bed, then you can potential he work 18 hour days forever, like Gary Vaynerchuk, and not get burned out at all.
For those of you who have never experienced a 16 hour work day or 70 hour work week, ignore everything I just said. It doesn’t apply to you. Perhaps, you may even want to try out working harder.
But for you workaholics, think about it.
Life is not always simple. It’s easy to hide your insecurities and fears behind the badge of working harder.
But you have to ask yourself what you want more: the honor of saying you’re a hard worker while knowing deep down you’re just running from something … or a big of discomfort to achieve the life of your dreams?
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