The Hard Thing About Hard Work

This curated post is authored by Del Singh, Founder & Editor-in-chief, The Epoch Man

Hard work is hard—really hard. There aren’t any shortcuts, hacks or workarounds for hard work. Technology has added conveniences and streamlined workflows, but it hasn’t replaced the mental and physical energy needed to execute.

“I can say the willingness to get dirty has always defined us as a nation, and it’s a hallmark of hard work and a hallmark of fun, and dirt is not the enemy.” -Mike Rowe

Early humans had to work rigorously to find food when finding food was a first-world problem. They could be out for days hunting to feed their tribe. Imagine doing this without the technology we currently have.

Civilization during this era didn’t have the luxury of guns, time, or waiting in a tree with a camouflaged Coors light. They couldn’t afford to be reactive by waiting for their prey to come to them. They had to be proactive and attack the animal. Comparatively to other mammals, humans are slow runners. Our endurance is exceptional so we outworked other animals by persistence hunting. As our prey would sprint away, we’d run after them over a long distance until they gave in from exhaustion.

They worked hard as if their lives depended on it.

Commitment is Hard

“You need to make a commitment, and once you make it, then life will give you some answers.” -Les Brown

People are full of ideas until it comes down to the execution of the idea. They’ll see the work it entails to make a project become a reality. It’s the same reasons why their dreams don’t become a reality. They’ll envy the “amazing” lives advertised on Instagram, but won’t work to earn it themselves.

Dating has become obnoxiously simple. You download an app, put up some pics and simple text, and swipe your way to four dates a week.

Relationships are obnoxiously hard. It requires commitment to create a connection in a face-to-face interaction—embracing awkward silences, meeting parents, having hard conversations, and getting on one knee.

Commitment involves picking a route when you’ve reached the fork in the road. Distractions will be in abundance along the way—as will speed bumps. One thing that makes commitment easier is purpose. If you know your purpose then it’s easier to stay committed to your journey.

Committed people don’t look back when the path is chosen and they don’t keep one foot out the door. One foot out the door means they’ve already failed. No one hits their stride at a 50% commitment level.

How do you know if you’re committed? When you’ve hit your point of no return and pledge to continue. As Seth Godin put it, when you’ve approached your Dip. The Dip is the point where you see the downhill stroll then uphill grind it’s going to take to make it to the top to hit your goal.

It’s when you’ve gone down the Dip that you’re all in.

Sacrifice is Hard

“You always have to sacrifice something when you want to achieve something.” -Rita Ora

Sacrifice involves staying in when everyone is going out and waking up when everyone is sleeping in. You’ll have lonely Friday nights, but your bank account will thank you. Sacrifice involves 70-hour work weeks to climb the corporate ladder, or 80-hour work weeks to maintain your day job while building a business on the side. Sacrifice entails eating multiple slices of humble pie—like taking a step back professionally to move forward in the long-term.

The unfortunate thing is we live in a world of instant gratification. Swipe right and you have a date. Place an order and it’s at your doorstep tomorrow. We want things now.

Sacrifice is about delayed gratification. Keeping your eye on the big prize 5–10 years down the road rather than the small/quick win today.

Devoting less or no fucks to lots of things and more fucks to a small amount of things. You’ll be missing out on things as a result. It’s difficult because it’s easy to get involved in so many things. You can get into golf, wakeboarding, rock climbing, and sailing in one summer. These are too many fucks for one summer.

Bring the Buffett 25–5 rule into your life to get focused on your priorities. Write down a list of 25 career goals, life goals, month goals, etc.. Circle the five most important to you and go after those goals. The remaining 20 will have to be sacrificed to the gods.

Out of the topics mentioned in this post, I consider sacrifice the most difficult because it requires you to give something up for what you want. Everyone wants six-pack abs but they aren’t strong enough to give up junk food. Everyone wants financial freedom but they aren’t willing to create habits that increase wealth.

Discipline is Hard

“I think self-discipline is something, it’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.” -Daniel Goldstein

“You have to have discipline.” I can clearly recall my dad saying this in his thick Indian accent when I was a child. As an adult, I’m finally listening.

Discipline involves creating habits and routines—systems and processes. Things that are boring but necessary.

For months I’ve been trying to wake up at 6am. I tried several methods and all failed, resulting in me hitting snooze until 6:45am, the time I must wake up in order to shower and make it to work on time.

I know writing down your goals increases your chances of achieving them. There’s a whiteboard in my room with weekly goals on it and I added “Daily 6am wake-up” to it. Interestingly enough, that didn’t work.

However, when I wrote out every day on the whiteboard, my mindset changed. If I missed the wake-up time, that day would get an “X.” If I woke up on time, that day would get a check mark next to it. This check mark instilled a reward system that got me on track to consistently wake up at 6am. This simple act of incentivizing myself kept me accountable.

Boring but necessary.

Some are naturally hard workers no matter what they do—they flat out get shit done. Doing what you love will naturally give you the motivation to work hard at something. Necessity is another form of motivation.

If you read through this post, you might’ve realized there was no secret recipe to working hard. I’m confident to say that no one else has found one either. Part of me wants to say that it’s inherently who you are. The other part wants to say that it is something that can be learned.

Success is the result of hard work. Luck plays a big part, but you have to do everything you can to create your own luck. Relying on blind luck will only disappoint you. If you want the good life then you have to earn it—through blood, sweat and tears.

Disclaimer: This is a curated post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and, not of iamwire and or its editor(s). This article was originally published here.

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