Look anywhere in our culture and you’ll see people promoting “hard work.”
There are so many variations of this story, such as:
- If you just “work hard” you can reach your goals
- “Hard work pays off”
It’s so ingrained in our culture at this point.
To be honest, I really never stopped to question it until the last couple of years.
I too believed that “you must work hard to be successful.”
But let’s take a step back.
What does “hard work” even mean?
Here’s what Google says:
So, “hard work” = “a great deal of effort”
And look at that, right below the definition, it says: “it takes hard work to be successful in business.”
It’s ingrained in our culture so much that even a Google search spits it out.
But why does work have to be “hard” and why does it take “hard work” to be successful?
Why can’t work feel effortless?
That’s not to say it’s done without action.
And that’s a very important distinction.
“Feel effortless” does not mean “without action.”
But here’s how I like to look at it:
When we are in flow, work — even when focusing on a complex or difficult task — can feel effortless.
It may take action, but when we are in flow, that action comes with ease.
So why aim to “work hard?”
Why not aim to “be in flow and take inspired action?”
Because when you are in flow, the action feels effortless and tasks can be done with ease.
(note: with ease is different than a task being simple/easy)
It feels amazing to work when you are inflow.
Whenever I’m inflow, even if I’m working on a super challenging problem, it doesn’t feel “hard.”
It feels like a very fun challenge to solve.
And now imagine all your work was like this.
Would you really call this “hard work?”
Or would you just call it “work?”
Or better yet, “playing?”