Please don’t get offended. I know you are working very hard today. You have so much things on your to-do list. You like your work (or maybe you don’t?). Anyway, you are putting in very long hours and you are planning to work even harder for the years to come. You have to, because you want to get to the top, don’t you?
Well, let me tell you. You chose the easy way. I don’t want to devalue your hard work, but everyone can do that. Everyone can put in the long hours, come back to home exhausted every single evening. Everyone can do the extra work you are doing each week-end to earn promotions and more money. It’s so easy as it doesn’t take much thinking. Just do what you have to do and do it well. That is.
Valuable work doesn’t mean hard work
Hard work does not always create value. I mean, it may create value for your employer or your customer because they have one hell of robotic servant (you of course!) doing very difficult tasks for them. And they can replace you with another robot the day your body won’t keep up with all the stress anymore. But does it create value for you?
What about your health? Taking care of your children and your spouse? What about your hobbies? Your dreams? Having fun? All those things you wanted to do when you were a kid? Those things you can’t do now because you are working hard? I know, you don’t want to think about these things. When you think about them, you feel bad, you feel guilty, then you come up with your perfect justification: “I have work to do and it is very important”.
So, let me say it again. Working hard is easy. It is easier than taking the time to actually think about your real accomplishments. Does your work actually create any value for you? Do you reap the benefits? Or are you postponing your happiness for a hypothetical future which may not come (because, you know, life is short)?
Maybe there is an easier way to do what you are doing every day? Maybe your work is hard because the process you use is not efficient? Because you are doing it wrong?
Question the value of your work. Now!
If you are working hard today, stop what you are doing and answer these questions. You will not find the answers now because these questions are very difficult to answer. That’s were the difficulty, the real value are. Your work is hard, but it is harder to stop and to take the time to question the value of what you are doing. It is hard to ask yourself the questions that matter because the answers are not obvious and/or difficult to accept.
I am not telling you to leave your job or be lazy. I am telling you this: “from time to time, you should just stop and look at the value of your work”. Hard rarely means value, it usually means inefficiency. If your work is hard and take all your time, then there is 99% chances that something is wrong. Question yourself.
You can’t hide behind your hard work, it will come back and bite you. And you will then realize all the time you lost (if you are still alive). And it’s too late. If you think your work is valuable because it is hard to do, think again. Stop working hard, work smart. Do the things that actually matter, do the work that matter, the work that will give you happiness now instead of in the future because the future may never come.
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