You've Got Hard Work All Wrong.

The idea of hard work is usually misunderstood.

You've been told before that you need to work harder. And you probably interpreted that as you needing to work longer. To put in more quantity of time.

But that's just the beginning of understanding the concept of hard work. This isn't really a discussion about hard work at all. It's an allegory for the concept of mastery.

You work hard so that you can achieve mastery. Which might include more money, fame, or happiness.

More work equals more success.

At least that's how it usually framed. And, make no mistake, you're going to need to have to work incredibly hard to achieve any bit of mastery.

But it’s not the work itself that levels you up. It’s the intensity with which you deliver that work. It’s the focus with which you apply that work.

Unless you're a beginner, and just getting started in your pursuit of success, the quantity of hours that you work becomes less important then the brutal intensity with which you attack the work that needs to be done.

Hard work no longer becomes about working longer hours. It's about protecting yourself vigilantly from distractions and dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to one thing for a focused period of time. 

That's not easy to do.

Especially if you're creative and have a lot of ideas running through your head each day.

You're excited and passionate and eager to make your mark on the world. So it becomes hard work when you have to devote your emotional and creative powers to a singular purpose, in an environment you have meticulously cultivated to be void of anything that distracts you from your purpose of accomplishing one specific thing at the moment.

That is tasking. That is trying. That is hard work.

Which is why it's easier to brag about how good of a multi-tasker you are. It's easier to look for ways to work longer hours that it is to be disciplined with the time you already have. With the opportunities in front of you right now.

Wishing you had more hours in the day won't solve your quest for mastery. It won't help you drive valiantly towards that place in your life you've always wanted to be.

You need more focus. More intensity. An iron, empowered will.

If you're not accomplishing the goals you want for yourself, consider the intensity with which you apply yourself. This isn't about your personality or your genetic makeup.

You don't need to be charismatic to be intense. You don't need to be glib, likable, or funny. You just need to protect your time like your life depends upon it. Like your dreams depend upon it. Like your destiny hangs in the balance.

Because it does. And because you completely control your outcomes. Your results. Your decisions. Your choices.

That's something to show a little intensity about.

Dan Waldschmidt