Thursday, October 18, 2012
Has anyone ever told you that to get ahead in life you have to work hard? I’m sure you have, but I’m going to tell you something radical. Don’t listen to them. To be totally honest, working harder is for chumps. Yes, you read that right, working harder is for chumps. Now I know that might be offensive. Don’t worry, that just means you’re still alive. Relish that fact.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. Have you ever read Animal Farm, by George Orwell? If you haven’t you should, but I’ll give you basic run down on one of the main characters. His name is Boxer. He’s basically the muscle and work horse of the farm. He believes in making things better for everyone and is willing to do what it takes to contribute. Unfortunately for Boxer, he’s not very bright. He religiously followed a mantra of “Must work harder” throughout the book. In fact, everyday he does work harder, while those in power continually take negative advantage of him, until one day, Boxer works so hard, he works himself to death. The truly sad thing is he didn’t really get anywhere with all that back breaking hard work. So, I ask you, what’s the point of working harder?
I’ve seen people ‘work harder’ all their lives. I’ve even followed that mantra for a while. You know where it got us? Nowhere but tired. No, don’t get me wrong, working hard is different than having integrity, being efficient, diligent, and reliable. Holding to a virtuous work ethic is a good foundation, but grinding yourself into the ground, day after day, working extra hours, not taking time for yourself, well that’s basically self abuse, and only benefits your boss, not you. Sure you might get a bit of overtime, but in the long run, you’re only wearing yourself down. I would propose an alternative.
“You must work Smarter!” Try that one on for size. If you think about it, that makes a hell of a lot more sense. But that’s so cliché, you might say. Perhaps, but think about how much more ingrained the work harder mantra is to most people. Innovators and entrepreneurs worked hard on their craft, to a point. They also examined the situation and devised a way of doing things that was more efficient, revolutionary, easier, less taxing, etc., and they changed the world. The basic example here is to look at what you’re doing and really contemplate the value of your effort with the value of your return. Then think about years from now. If you see yourself in the same position, or even just a few steps ahead, maybe it’s time to change your focus and attention to something new.
You don’t have to change the world if you don’t want to, but if you do things smartly you might just change your world. And that’s where success in life begins. Beating yourself to death working hard robs you of other experiences that can enrich your life and bring deeper meaning to your existence. Life is a balancing act. Don’t be a slave to your own convictions. Or at the very least, don’t be a slave to your job. Don’t be a chump, work Smarter, not harder.
Albert Einstein is a great example of someone who worked Smarter, not harder. He's a tough act to follow, but you might as well set your standards high. Otherwise, what's the point.
Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are always welcome.
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