Hard Work. We’ve all heard and used that phrase. I’m sure like myself, dozens of cliché phrases about the benefits of hard work just came to mind, right? Work at its origin means “something done. A deed or action.” So, work involves action and completion. The word hard as used in this context at its origin means “having difficulty in doing something”. So quite literally “hard work” means “having difficulty in completing a deed or action.” The feeling of exhaustion afterwards is the indicator that we often use to validate the exertion of excess effort in completing a task and this is what we refer to as hard work. For decades and possibly even centuries, we’ve validated the benefits and character qualities involved in hard work. I’m here to disagree with this social concept today. If work is hard, it is because there is something we do not know. Let’s break this down together, shall we?
The problem here is that the level of difficulty is simply a perception and is 100% relative to the one perceiving it. What is difficult for me may be extremely easy for you. Objectively speaking, I’d rather have the task be less difficult so that I can effectively complete it in a lesser time frame. If a task is difficult for me it is because I either lack knowledge or I lack experience (which is just depth of application of knowledge). If you’re driving a vehicle and you hit the gas but the vehicle moves slowly, we don’t praise the fact that the car is experiencing difficulty in moving. We get out and see what is preventing us from moving forward. If you’re pushing a lawnmower and all the sudden the lawnmower jams up and doesn’t want to move easily, you don’t pat yourself on the back and label the event a success. You find out what is blocking your lawn mower. All work is this way. Work is the completion of a deed or an action. The level of difficulty has nothing to do with the degree of work being performed. Work is an absolute. You either completed it or you didn’t. If you did, it’s work. If you didn’t, I don’t know what you did, but it was not work.
I will explain why hard work is so respected in society. Persistence. That is basically it. Something required a large amount of effort to be exerted and if a person persists to any degree more than what is considered “average” that person is thought to have “worked hard” and a level of respect is assigned to that person. Persistence is good and I’m not intending to make anyone wrong here, but let’s go back to our lawn mower example. If the lawn mower starts jamming up, who should be revered more? The person who pushes and pushes harder and harder, and maybe does get the lawn mower to move after exerting lots of energy? Or the person who shuts it off, fixes the problem, and accomplishes the same task with less effort exerted and in less time? The second person wins hands down. At some point, if someone is experiencing difficulty and just continues to persist without fixing the problem we do have to honestly begin questioning intelligence. Albert Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result”. So, if I just keep pushing the lawn mower, what I’m saying with my actions is “I don’t know any other way”. In essence, I don’t have the intellect required to do this any differently so I must continue along the same path of action and hope the situation resolves itself. Hard work is not a sign of intelligence. In fact, it is exactly the opposite.
Lastly, because hard work is simply perceived level of difficulty; “This feels harder than I perceive it does or should for others”. “Hard work” is also a comparison mindset. The comparison mindset is the intellectual temple of the average and middle class. Phrases like “at least I have (insert comparison here)” or “at least I don’t have (insert comparison here)” and the plethora of other phrases used by the average are simply justifications used to make sense of a lack of progress. I agree that this sounds harsh and it is also 100% true. The only times I’ve ever used the scapegoat phrase of “hard work” is when I either did not finish something or when a task took longer than I knew it should have. During these times, I looked at my results or lack thereof, compared them to other results of mine or of other’s, and said “man, that was hard work.” AKA “compared to the level of difficulty I perceive in the actions of myself or others, I perceive that this work was more difficult”. I’ve now justified and made sense of my lack of know-how with a simple two-word phrase. Tada! You do not want to be working hard.
What’s the solution? Study the correct data based on observation of cause and effect. Watch those who are consistently succeeding and find out the basic tenets they apply to their work. Abandon your opinions and the study them. We also must mentally abandon the admiration we’ve developed for hard work. Hard work equates to a comparison mindset, a lack of intelligence, and gives of the label of average. With the right knowledge and application, nothing should be hard.
If you feel like finances are difficult, I’m here to tell you it’s partially your fault and also partially not your fault. You’ve been trying to push the lawn mower harder and harder hoping that your finances will eventually resolve. This is 100% our own fault because to not have the right knowledge and fail to seek it out is irresponsible. It’s not your fault due to the fact that you’ve been given the wrong knowledge about how money works. We’ve been taught incorrectly about money from broke people who don’t have any money and also from wealthy people who have lots of money and don’t want us to have any. It’s our job to go find the right information, learn it, and apply it.
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Own Your Potential!
Jerry Fetta is a husband, son of Yahweh, Entrepreneur and owner of 5 privately held businesses. Jerry lives in Alaska with his wife and 2 dogs. His no-nonsense approach to business, finances, and life speaks truth and provides clarity to his clients and followers. His personal mission in life is to empower millions of leaders to own their God-given, ultimate potential.