“I Always Wanted to Be Somebody, but Now I Realize I Should Have Been More Specific.”
– Lily Tomlin
Today, what I want to talk to you about is work. Hard work that is.
When I was in high school, I spent two summers working in construction so that I could afford to buy a splendid and flashy red motorbike. This naturally resulted in me getting a lot of female attention (objective complete).
It’s not a huge achievement, and it’s certainly not hard to reach when you’re the only guy with a cool motorbike, and everybody else has scooters or bicycles (this was before it was cool to have a bike with one gear).
I recall at the time, some of my friends complained that girls only seem to like guys who have motorbikes. I did disagree with that statement.
I think what girls liked was more the fact that I am the kind of guy who’s ready to spend two summers waking up at 5 am and spend all my day covered in mud to accomplish a goal. That is drive and grit. The motorbike is just the hard-to-fake (to a point) result of these traits.
And this is wrong. It’s OK to work for a reward. But I think that view on work was wrong, and I overcame it. This is what I want to share with you.
Here’s why I think you should give this following perspective a thought.
Hard work is the reward. Hard work is not a means to an end. The first gift God gave to Adam was not Eve. It was a job. Adam’s role in the garden was the caretaker of creation.
Our humanity, personality, traits, mindsets, and core being are formed against effort and adversity. They say the hottest fires make the hardest steel. I definitely agree.
You cannot say you’re loyal until you have an opportunity to cheat on your spouse without getting caught, and you still don’t do it.
You cannot say you’re ethical until you have an opportunity to steal without getting caught, and you still don’t do it.
You cannot say you work hard until you have an opportunity not to work hard, and you still choose to work hard for hard work’s sake.
This might sound high-level to some, as you would instinctively think this only applies to entrepreneurs and other people who deeply enjoy what they do and would do it regardless of the cash outcome.
I will go further.
Suppose you have a job and are only doing the minimum not to get fired. You’re not cheating your boss. You’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to become more, to learn everything you can, and to develop yourself through hard work.
Living a life of struggle and hardship beats living a life of lavish leisure. You just have to be careful with definitions. Struggling doesn’t mean being poor or unsuccessful. It means constantly joining new, bigger clubs as the smallest member. You can be struggling to go from $5m to $10m a year in sales, having sleepless nights, dread, and fear (cash flow and profit are different things as we all know) while being more successful (financially) than arguably 99% of human beings. Don’t hold me on the percentages; they are illustrative.
Also, I’m very conscious that the lavish lifestyle looks very good from the outside. But we’re not here to talk about the outside and what they think. Who knows what people think anyway?
I can say that my life changed for the better when I started doing work for the sake of work. I should have been in that mental state much much earlier. I wish I could have been. It would have saved me so much pain.
Getting to do the work is my reward.
And because it’s my reward, I can passionately commit to it.
I’m not sacrificing for my company. I’m not giving up on cool things because I have to work. I work because it’s all I want to do. I want to be in a position where people can say in 5 or 10 or 20 years: “that guy dished out a serious amount of work.”
Do you want that too? Success is guaranteed. If all you care about is putting in the effort and applying it to the right things, then you’ll always be successful because you’ll either win or learn. I think this is from Nelson Mandela.
There’s nothing else I want to be doing right now other than writing this post in the hopes that you might read it someday and feel that you’re not alone.
Not because I genuinely think I can make your life slightly better or offer a slightly new perspective that you can then use to build on other things. Those are excellent consequences.
Yet, what I enjoy is the work, the commitment, and what those make out of me and hopefully you.
There’s this other passage in the Bible that says (and I quote freely) that “our work works on us more than we work on it.” I interpreted it as the process of working being more critical than the reward.
The person you become by relentlessly putting in the work is more important than what you get for your work.
It definitely is for me. I hope it is for you too.
Detaching yourself from the outcome and doing the reps regardless is freeing and more effective.
There’s no fear of failing.
There’s no impatience of getting a reward.
I guess you also connect the dots between a passion for hard work and manufacturing the best cognitive supplements on the planet.
That’s it for now. I don’t want to become a motivational speaker. I genuinely think this perspective shift can make your life so much better if you don’t have it yet.