New Lessons Learned #2: Work HARDER Not Smarter

What’s going on my friends?

Have you ever heard someone say: “Work Smarter, Not Harder” and smile, satisfied with what they just said?

I’m sure we’ve all said this silly quote at some point, in an attempt to show off how intelligent we are, that we can optimize systems to better serve us, using less effort.

Like many other things in society, the idea is completely backwards, and is used by people to never work hard – at anything.

It’s not surprising this idea is so popular, because the modern man has Google, and knows the answer to ANY question after two seconds.

This gives us a weird technological omnipotence – why work hard? You already know everything.

The truth is you DON’T know anything, unless you’ve done it yourself. And it’s almost never as simple or as easy as it looks.

Yes, there is merit in optimizing systems to work faster and easier – but that comes from personal experience, and the only way to get that is to work hard, and make small adjustments over time.

The credit for clarifying this idea goes to Chris from Good Looking Loser.

He phrased it best: Work HARDER Not Smarter.

What does that mean work harder not smarter? It means knowing theory and having experience are two different things. We all know the theory behind how a car engine works… How many of us have actually worked on engines, or built one from scratch?

The point is this: anyone can google something or read a few book on it and understand the idea behind how something works, the theory.

Another level altogether is to do it yourself and work on it for hours and hours and hours, day after day.

What you may find is… the theory is wrong. Your experience doesn’t match the research. Or some points are left out. Or things are emphasized that are insignificant.

“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel. Talents come naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.” – Will Smith

The best way to get good at something is to spend time doing it. To do the work and learn for yourself.

Something to think about: People who reach the highest level in something, reach that level by hard work, and THEN write a book about how they did it, the theory for everyone else to read.

They did not get to that level by binge reading other people’s ideas. And sometimes the people at the top wont tell you the whole formula, they omit things for many reasons.

One thing that stays consistent through any successful persons story is obsessive, sickening work ethic.

Scott Jurek ran 3 hours a day, every day, for years. Michael Phelps spends 6 hours a day in the pool, 6 days a week. Top business men use stimulants to stay sharp and awake though long hours of work, sacrificing health for success.

We’re talking about being so focused on what you’re doing, that you don’t sleep, and 3 days go by and you forget – you didn’t eat. 

You work all day off 3 hours of sleep, maybe 2 hours, sometimes you might stay up 3 days in a row – because if you sleep, you might miss the opportunity to be successful.

This kind of laser focus is what will guarantee you accelerated progress in whatever it is you want to excel at.

Take a second and think about this: What is it you want to excel at?

Can you spend an hour a day working towards that? Two hours? Three hours?

Hours and hours of work which translate into equity toward your craft. Anything I ever did well, was because of time invested, daily, even when I didn’t want to.

This is where lifestyle integration comes in, to help you through those days, days that you don’t want to practice. If you work a full time job, the only way you’ll have the time to learn a skill is to integrate it into work.

This is the only real “life hack” that worked for me.

If you are like most people and work full time, you will have to mix what you’re trying to do into work.

The 40 hour workweek takes up time and energy – much more than we realize.

Sure, you work for 40 hours, but if, throughout the day, you monitor your activities in one hour blocks, you’ll see how much of that is covered by commute, cooking and eating, sleeping, cleaning, and other things to maintain your life, the time you have left is maybe 2-3 hours a day. So what can we do?

You must integrate what you want to learn into your job.

If you want to write, write at work when you get a chance. If you want to lose weight, move closer to work and walk/cycle/run to work, or get a job which involves physical exertion.

This may seem extreme, because it is. You won’t get anywhere doing 30 mins of work towards your goal every four days.

Just do the work. If you want be a cyclist, buy a cheap bike and ride 600 miles on it, ride for a year, ride until components fall apart from wear and tear, then do it again with a slightly better bike.

Want to write? Write every day, write 10000 words a day. Post what you write on the internet for free.

Want to learn to swim? Get in the pool and start swimming, an hour a day, minimum. Get comfortable in the water.

Want to learn to shoot a gun? Buy 600 rounds, and shoot as frequently as possible. Pay attention where every round goes.

Want to get good shooting a compound bow? Shoot 200 arrows a day.

This can apply to anything, any skill at all. If you take action and start putting in the hours, you’ll be light-years ahead of people sitting around researching theory and reading endless books.

All that endless research is really just procrastination. It’s information overload. It’s a sneaky way to avoid taking action, yet feeling like you are taking action.

There will never be a point in your in your life where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen.

You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

Knowing theory is not the same as being able to do something.

Repeat after me: Personal Experience, Personal Experience, PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!!!

Improvements and optimizations will come, but only if you are out there doing the work.

Work HARDER – Not Smarter

Until Next Time, and

All the Best.