Hello again and welcome, readers! If you are here, it means you have taken out time from your life to read this. I sincerely thank you for that.
So last time I’d discussed about what I thought about “Hard Work”. Today, I’m going to briefly summarize a very elaborate blog post on “Hard Work in 5 easy steps: Understanding Perseverance in the Modern Age”, published in the website www.primermagazine.com and written by Jack Busch.
The very first line of the post says, “Hard Work isn’t physical, it’s emotional”. This line brings into light what we perceive as ‘hard’ when we do the ‘work’.
Most successful people have probably given advice like, “Work hard and you can achieve anything” when asked how someone else might do it. The problem with this though is that it is a vague definition. If for one person it might be giving relationships a wide berth, for another it might be the sacrifice of a secure source of income. Also, if someone goes to work at 9:00 a.m. and returns by 7:00 p.m., and comes home tired and frustrated, it might feel as if they are working hard. This definition is flawed in the way that it relies on comparing yourself with others who most probably have a different routine or with themselves when they had a less taxing routine.
It would be hard work if, apart from doing what we are supposed to do, we find time to do more. For example, a father coming home after a laborious day at work and the physical exertion of travel, to warmly greet his wife and children could probably amount to working hard.
“But what is he sacrificing here?” you could say.
He would be sacrificing his urge to complain and rest in order to interact with them and complete the family with his presence. And if the child is a toddler, he probably wouldn’t have a sound sleep. Better yet, imagine if the same routine was to be followed by a mother. I think we could agree that that would be it. That is clearly a superhuman task.
So let’s look at the 5 steps.
In Busch’s own words,
- The Drive– This is the motivation, the inspiration, the entire reason you work hard. This is the engine that pushes your efforts forward.
- The Plan– If The Drive is the heart of your hard work, then the plan is the skeleton. The plan maps out your course of action and helps plot your progress and keep you on track.
- The Grind– The Grind is the point when working hard stops being fun and exciting and starts becoming tedious, stressful and perhaps even discouraging. How you handle the grind is often what separates the winners from the quitters.
- The Sacrifice– This is the crux of hard work, and the one thing that makes hard work truly hard. Any ambitious goal requires significant personal sacrifice. Enduring the strain in your relationships, finances and comfort level is the real test.
- The Payoff– This is the brass ring. In order for hard work to be worthwhile, you have to define a number of goals and milestones and recognize when you’ve achieved them. And once you do, you have to up the ante and keep going.
So at least I was on point with The Sacrifice.
Jack went on further to elaborate each point, but I’ll keep it short.
The Drive or the Motivation can be classified based on whether it is positive or negative and on whether it is internal or external. I will shortly post an infographic image showing the same. This is an important component because it gets us started on our goals. It helps us bypass the phase of inertia, initially.
The Plan, as described, is the skeleton. This is one of the crucial pillars of Hard Work because unless we have a plan, we won’t have a direction to move forward in. Having a plan makes the work involved, quantified. It helps in setting achievable goals. In the past, the mistake I’d made a lot of times was in this step; I made my plan and started executing but quickly burned out and gave up. The mistake was that I’d set impossible goals for myself, goals that I couldn’t possibly have accomplished in the set time frame.
The Grind is the second most important component of the process. The result of following even just this step can lead to developing skills that can’t be rivalled easily. Even if we practice doing what our goal requires us to do without actually working towards our goal, we’ll get halfway there. The other half is The Plan. This is probably what Will Smith calls, ‘A Sickening Work Ethic’.
Considering a car for analogy, if the Drive is the fuel, the Plan is the body, and the Grind is the engine, then the Sacrifice could be considered as the friction between the tyres and the concrete that makes the car move forward. Greater the sacrifice, greater will be the friction and keep the vehicle from skidding out of control at high speeds. The first three steps will enable to reach a general achievable level of success. But it’s the Sacrifice that will truly challenge us to the maximum of our capabilities and reveal to us what we really are capable of doing.
“True hard work has a disruptive effect on your life, which is exactly the intended effect”, i.e. it takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to grow.
Also, it is “the act of surrendering something of value for the sake of a greater purpose”.
Finally, the part of success that everyone tends to focus on, The Payoff. This is the step where celebration is due. Whenever a big task is ticked off of your checklist or an important milestone has been reached, it is essential that we celebrate. A celebration doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be a party. It could be as simple as doing something that calms your nerves or something that makes you peaceful, if not happy. It could even be just a powerful and loud “Yessss!!!!” with fists raised in the air.
Celebration can mean different things for different people, but it is important to recognize that it shouldn’t be some activity that would derail you from your plan and cause you to lose the momentum built up in reaching there. Celebration is required because in that moment we acknowledge the progress we’ve made and give ourselves permission to feel proud in knowing that the Hard Work and Sacrifice has paid off.
If you, the reader, have come all the way to the bottom of this post, I can’t say enough how thankful I am. This is not only for you, but also my journey of discovering what works and what doesn’t. Also, that doesn’t mean that I’m doing all this flawlessly. I do make mistakes and have occasional slip ups. But I keep reverting back to the Plan. So thank you for sticking with me.
In a day’s time, I’ll be posting an infographic, attempting to connect the steps and concepts discussed in this post. Until then, see you later.