Hard work will only get us so far….
The notion of hard work is vastly misunderstood and misused in our society today. There has been a new wave of thinking and motivation throughout business and sport in particular. People from about 35 down to 18 all watching videos on youtube that get you fired up for hard work, that tell you life is hard so you need to be harder, that you’re going to struggle but you just need to push through it, that if you work hard you will achieve success, that to get that material life you want, you need to grind, you need to work HARD. This mindset has become popular culture in a way, men and women, suited and booted, who express pride to be on the grind, to be working hard, still progressing, still fighting. They say it to their friends in the gym before they head to the office, always with an eye on payday, because of course, that’s the end game, money.
Those of us with this ‘grind’ mindset have put all of our emphasis, placed all importance and dedicated ourselves entirely to hard work and it’s rewards. With the belief that it will get us where we want to be and then we’ll be happy, then we can relax, then we will have a good life. In doing this we have forgotten about the mind, about ourselves, our internal beings, our mental health. We have completely neglected the mind and put in no hard work there, in fact, all we have done is made life harder for ourselves.
We do this in multiple ways. To start with, there is, of course, the lack of mental care and development, that leads to an untrained mind, susceptible to all kinds of mental illness, unable to see a clear path, tied down in meaningless problems, filled with worry, fear, anger and complication. Going through life with a mind like this is already 1000 times harder but then we go and add to our hardships by developing the belief that life is hard, that it’s always going to be a struggle, we plant that believe into our minds and guess what, our lives become a struggle, they become hard and difficult everyday. This becomes a vicious cycle, as our belief that hard work will get us through this struggle, convinces us to grind ourselves into the dirt because one day we won’t have to grind anymore.
Though many of us never stop struggling because that’s what we perceive life to be, a struggle. So it is. We struggle and grind, struggle and grind, struggle and grind all the way to retirement. Maybe we saved up some money, maybe we didn’t, but either way, we’re getting older now and life’s not really the same, it took us so long to get here that it doesn’t seem worth it anymore, what is all of this money really going to get us? What was it all for?
We misplaced and misunderstood the notion of hard work.
Let’s think about why? Why do so many of us want that stereotypical life, money, house, car etc? Let’s break it down and start at the beginning. What will that college place get us? Ok, it will get us a degree. What will that degree get us? A job, maybe, probably not, it might give us a foot in the door but it’s all us from there. The job gets us money but also takes our time, stresses us out, causes us health problems, mental problems and family problems, oh and don’t forget work problems. But we have the money, that’s the important thing, we’re ok as long as we have the money. Though, what does that get us? It gives us a place to live, buys food, clothes, TVs, holidays, cars. Ok great, so we have all of that now, money has done us a solid, what now? It can’t fix our health problems or our mental problems, it can’t fix our family problems or our work problems. “Oh forget about that crap! I need a new car, I need a bigger house, I need more clothes, I’ve got plenty of stuff left to buy!”
Do we? Is a bigger house, a faster car and fancier clothes worth the sacrifice of our mental and physical health? Is it worth the sacrifice of true joy, of happiness, of love, of human connection? When we get to the end of our days on this planet, will we look back in joy thinking “I’m so happy I worked that shit job all those years, look how much stuff I have accumulated”? Or will we realise we’re about to be left with nothing as we lose all of that stuff we worked so hard for?
Don’t get me wrong, all those things are great, houses, money, cars, there’s nothing wrong with them, money isn’t evil. It’s our almost rabid and unconscious chase of money that causes great harm in our lives. We can have money, houses, cars and abundant success of any kind by combining hard work with mental health.
Hard work certainly has its place and it is no doubt important, but by no means is it the be-all and end-all. This idea that hard work alone will achieve your goals in life is actually very toxic. It causes us to fight, battle and grind ourselves all the way to the grave, without ever stopping to actually live our life. In reality, hard work will only get you so far, in a certain amount of time. It is important of course, but no more so than the mind. Hard work alone probably will get you to your goal, it may take 100 years but you can probably get there. But a healthy, strong and clear mind, with hard work on top, will get you there in 10, maybe less, if not simply because you will be going in the right direction.
With a clean and clear mind, we are more able to see where we are going in life. We are able to identify with more ease the path we wish to follow. When the mind is clear we become more self-aware, more in touch with ourselves and are able to look within, to see and feel what it is we truly want to do with this life we are given. With a true heading set, we need not waste time or effort, exerting blood, sweat and tears while going in the wrong direction. We can start off down a path that will flow like a river to our dreams. Yes there will still be battles, yes we must still work hard but with a healthy mind and a passion to chase, that work won’t seem so hard after all.
This recipe for success is evident all around us today. If you study professional athletes or sportsmen, you will notice that all of them work hard but not all of them achieve success. What’s the difference between Lebron James and the next hard worker to step onto the court? What’s the difference between Serena Williams and your average tennis pro? There will be others out there in the same field that work as hard as these two but don’t achieve the same success. The difference is in their mentality.
This applies not just in sport but in business, health, the arts, science, life. The most successful people not only work hard but they have a healthy, positive mentality. One without the other will stifle your success but together they will accelerate you in the right direction, towards as much success as you could ask for.
This healthy mentality will contain things that may seem cliche to you, like believing in yourself or staying positive, but it’s necessary to believe in you and in your dreams. A healthy mentality consists of all the positives we’ve spoken about in this blog and more, belief, positivity, peace, clarity, love. Some will apply more to you than to others, but there are many, many common themes running through the minds of happy people, successful people, peaceful people.
There are many people today that some of us will look up to, respect and aspire to, from celebrities to spiritual leaders that demonstrate mental prosperity alongside physical prosperity. If you look closely at what they say, you can see common mental themes between them, themes that we are talking about in these blog posts and it is these mental themes that are the keys to their success, peace and happiness. Let’s make them yours as well.
A healthy mind combined with a good work ethic will get you further in life than you can imagine, while making the journey along the way full of love, peace, happiness and enjoyment.
If you know someone who is feeling lost and you think this post can help, please share it with them. Check out this post on how we can be happy for more insights on personal happiness, as well as this book The Little Book of Happiness, available to buy on Amazon.
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