What is “hard work”?
Well, in physics we know:
Work = Force x Distance
The more force you exert over distance, the greater the work you have done.
Now, since the mastery of entrepreneurship and the pursuit of financial independence rarely involves exerting great forces over great distances, where exactly does “hard work” fit into the equation?
I would love to propose a new perspective on the concept of hard work…
My Personal View
Hard work, by definition, has very little to do with financial wealth or business success.
In fact, if someone is repeatedly applying a great amount of force over large distances, and they fail to come up with systems, levers, tools or delegations to relieve themselves from that work – chances are they’re not the brightest light in the harbour.
I believe many people confuse “hard work” for “basic work” that is shrouded in mental fog, fears, fantasies and comparison to others…
Focussing on “hard work” can deliver a solution in the body. Push harder. Sleep less. Rip, tear and scratch.
Focussing on breaking through fog, fears and fantasies can only deliver a solution in the mind and soul… and many individuals are not ready to go there yet.
With that in mind, I have observed two main philosophies on work ethic in the attainment of financial independence and business success.
- Hustle and Grind
- Constant Elevation of Consciousness
Let me share a very brief explanation of both:
Hustle and Grind
I’ve witnessed many individuals grow a significant amount of business and financial success via raw hustle. They push their physical body to the limit, often sacrificing sleep in exchange for caffeine and energy drinks. For some of these people, “balance” sounds like a word for pussies who are unwilling to do what ever it takes. The mind of a hustler rarely takes a moment to sit in silence… for it would much rather be calculating reward/risk ratios, looking for opportunities, analysing, judging, and trying to keep active.
Elevation of Consciousness
I’ve also witnessed individuals grow a significant amount of business and financial success via extremely calm, patient, methodical and elegant methods. These individuals often operate on a greater time and space horizon, factoring in the future cost of not looking after their body, mind and soul in the present.
Those with an elevated (and ever growing) level of conscious awareness tend to have a closer connection to their soul guided purpose. In other words, they know themselves down to the finest detail. They know what makes them tick. They have identified the origins of the voids that drive their values, and therefore they know what truly lights their fire from within.
In resonating and transmitting their meaningful purpose and intentions to the world, they attract people, circumstances and opportunities to them – many of whom will compete against each other to do the (so called) “hard work”.
For better or worse
So then, should I stop hustling and grinding?
Of course not!
The ability to push out hours in the office and stretch yourself to the limit is an important quality that will bring great value to your pursuit of success.
As with the majority of my teachings, I believe the “ideal” scenario lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
- The individual who grinds, claws and scratches his way toward success with no desire to develop a greater conscious awareness or to conduct deep personal introspection – is destined to live a life of battle. (Ultimately, a battle against self)
- The individual who sits upon a hill meditating all day, reading the great spiritual guru’s and masters, expanding his awareness and focussing on self discovery – is destined to live a life of relative grace, poise and presence. (Although building any degree of financial success from the proverbial mountain top is unlikely)
- The individual who can elegantly do both on cue, is destined to become a master.
Start with Why
“When the why becomes big enough, the how takes care of itself”
When your reason for achieving financial and business success becomes so big, so clear, so certain and so moving – just watch in awe as circumstances “fall into place” that allow you to manifest that vision. In certain moments of grace, you may even describe the attainment of success as “effortless”.
Without a vision, reason or purpose that extends beyond yourself… you may just find that your financial pursuits are rooted in a shallow attempt to mask an unresolved pain of the past.
In such a case, common side effects include:
Lack of presence
Lack of sustained commitment
Fantasies about what wealth will bring
Excessive fears about not achieving
Subordination and self minimisation
Constantly requiring permission (verbally or non-verbally)
Shiny ball syndrome
If I took my current position and laid out every single day, with every single action that I ever took, back to the time when I was broke – I’d have a relatively simple list of daily actions.
There was only ever a handful of times that I was actually “working hard”. It was usually when I was at a personal training session, lifting weights, exerting a force over a distance.
Other than that, it was just action.
Specifically, it was inspired action, planned out with foresight, with a specific end-in-mind, balanced by contingency plans for all the potential challenges and hurdles that I predicted ahead of time.
Financial Independence can be achieved by a relatively straight line of focussed, concerted action steps. Do them every single day, and you’ll get there.
The only thing that interferes with that straight line, is your mind.
- If you’re not clear on your purpose, it could feel hard.
- If you haven’t planned the journey, you could feel confused.
- If you haven’t got a mentor, you could hesitate.
- If you haven’t built a team, you could feel isolated.
- If you have a fantasy about how long it will take, you could feel frustrated.
- If you have a fear about what others think of you, you could get distracted.
- If it’s just not that important to you, you could get shiny ball syndrome.
In the absence of clarity, planning, mentorship, team, grounded expectations, confidence, courage, and inspiration… basic work feels like hard work.
The good news
These elements can be learnt, obtained and discovered.
When the pupil is ready to receive the truth, the teacher will appear… but the lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding.
- Fighting a lack of sound planning with more hours in the office is not wisdom.
- Fighting a lack of courage by changing your strategy each year is not wisdom.
- Fighting a lack of inner inspiration with external motivational tactics or gimmicks is not wisdom.
“Hard work” is not the cure-all. Fighting, clawing and scratching your way to success is not the only way.
Sometimes, personal introspection and an expansion of conscious awareness is exactly what you need.
I recently talked about this topic in my Vlog. I thought it would be valuable to add it to this blog post: