Growing up in a blue collar town, I learned the values of hard work.
“Yeah, I had pneumonia, but I didn’t let that keep me down. I didn’t miss a day of work.”
“My boss is a total dick. But he should be retiring in 15 years, and then I’ll have it much better.”
The amount of bullshit one endures is worn like a badge of honor.
Obviously, a solid work ethic and hard work is a good thing and essential to success. However, focusing on the wrong type of hard work can really hold you back.
Working 60 hours a week at a job you hate definitely requires fortitude. But it’s also easy in a way, because you’re doing what you have to do. You arrange your life around those 60 working hours, and leave the rest of your time for family and life issues. The cycle continues indefinitely.
On paper, you’re a hard working go-getter.
But it was a great realization for me to see that my nose-to-the-grindstone work mentality was also a form of laziness.
It’s lazy because I was deferring my life plan to my current work situation. I put off thinking about important things in life because I just didn’t have the time.
Once I realized that, I decided to start defining my goals and values, and Anne (my wife) and I started discussing our goals every week. It was not something that anyone told us to do. There was no script to follow. We just started doing it and it was very hard at first.
Several of our initial goal meetings ended in tears with nothing accomplished. There were fears of change and fears of failure floating around. And often times just disbelief that we could actually achieve what we wanted to accomplish. Having a meeting about goals is not manual labor, but it’s definitely hard work.
We stuck with it and it has resulted in us making drastic changes to be living the way we want. If we had continued to just work hard in the traditional sense, we’d still be at our old jobs, complaining that we don’t have time for important things.
We still have a long way to go, and we’re still trying to figure out a better structure for our weekly meetings. Again, more hard work. But it’s important hard work that directly impacts our happiness.
In what ways are you working hard?