“Working hard pays off. Even if we get into the debates about whether we should or should not toil so badly, I believe there’s a healthy level of working hard – and if you crack that, life becomes fulfilling.”
Why working hard is worth it
My underlying belief is that things may or may not always work for you – but it pays off to put in the required effort.
To me, working hard is much more about doing more of what I do, and doing it better to be worth my salt.
That’s all that matters to me. I love my work. I give it the attention and care it deserves. I’d rather work hard than pray to get better. Also, there’s a thing about shedding blood, sweat, and tears for a purpose and watching something beautiful bloom.
For now, I won’t get into that ‘work smarter’ philosophy, explain Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule, or put out an acronym like the SMART way of setting goals.
Although I’m probably not what you might typically call a hard worker, I’m listing down a bunch of things I’ve learned through what my experience has been until now.
So, how can you work harder, or at least, push yourself to do more than what you usually do? Here are some nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned over time.
Here’s how you can work hard (and prosper at whatever you do)
- Give more than you can. Over deliver, keep your promises, and even drink more coffee if needed. Still, grind more, a lot more if you can.
- Leave your life behind for a while. Greatness asks for sacrifices. You don’t need to be doomed, just a bit more determined. Don’t mind missing out some bits of life.
- Take the initiative. Take the responsibility for a task when you can. Don’t wait for instructions. Do something.
- Fall in love with your work. Work doesn’t resemble an obligation when you love it. You do you’ve always been doing, and yet you smile at your desk.
- Show up, even if you’re not motivated. Doesn’t matter which hormones are fuelling you. Work, even when the dopamine has sunk. That’s what showing up is all about.
- Care about what you do. You’re serving the purpose, not the chores. You’re a part of a greater cause. Take pride. Care, before and more than others do.
- Long for betterment. Perfection is unattainable, anyway. Be better than you were yesterday. Improve one skill or habit and you’d be fine. A year later, even better.
- Say you’re good enough. Say it to yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you suck, because even if you’re not remarkable, you’d soon be. Until then, believe that you’re capable.
- Focus on learning. Everything teaches. All experiences matter. Be curious enough to gather enough lessons from the surroundings, people, and details – that’s how you become knowledgeable.
- Find your blocks. What hinders you? Note it and find a cure. Eliminate your roadblocks. Crush them by resolving them.
- Focus on the essential. Not everything matters. Throw away the clutter, find meaningful work, and do it well. That’s like 80% of any work.
- Do what you can. Focus on what you know. Place your hands on what you see. As for what you don’t know, it’ll be clear to you, too, when you try.
- Choose strengths over weaknesses. You can’t be great at everything, not everything. It’s alright to be just okay as long as you’re flourishing at what you do your best.
- Aim small. Shoot for little goals, accomplish them, and set some new ones. This step by step manner helps, unlike setting big goals which might overwhelm you.
- Learn the tricks. Sweating hard isn’t always necessary as there’s always an easier way. Find that easier way by asking others for help or acquiring new skills.
- Speed up. Set shorter deadlines, find what quickens you, and track your performance. Ultimately, it encourages betterment. Make working faster one of your motives.
- Experiment. Change your routine, try new tools, explore shortcuts or do whatever interests you. Just change your working style often, else you’d be bored and tired.
- Organize your mind-junk. Sort the clutter in your mind and organize it. The ideas, plans, or anything – gain some clarity regarding them. Whiteboards and to-do lists work.
- Glance at the bigger picture. Keep the sight of your reasons right in front of you. Remind yourself often about what your real reason for working is.
- Tie your values to your job. Work feels hollow unless you attach yourself to it, which only happens your values are related to it. Make it a piece of yourself. Make it matter.
- Find the right environment. The right people, a nurturing place, and desirable setting can cast a charm on you. It has always been the case for me.
To me, it’s what matters
Your passion or willingness remains at the core of what you do. It’s what gives your work a significant value.
You may be good or bad at whatever you’re doing, but as long as you’re putting in the work, you’re still marching ahead.
I’m still trying to write better. I try hard to be true to the work that I do. And to be honest, it’s what brings more contentment, not the external factors like appreciation or attention. The only sensible goal I can think of right now is being honest to that person in the mirror.
Does it work? Until now, it has.