The illusion of Hard Work

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Right from the time we are kids, we are always told that hard work is the key to success.

But I have a slightly different point of view.

Because “work” itself has a very subjective nature.

Let me demonstrate this by giving you an example from an experience I had back in 2013 when I was starting out as an entrepreneur.

I was just starting out with my photography workshops in Pune and I used to use two methods of promotion to get students:

  • Facebook ads
  • Offline promotions like sticking flyers in cafes, outside commercial buildings and near tapris.

Let’s look at the work involved in these two activities:

Facebook ads

  • Me sitting in Starbucks and executing a few clicks

Offline Promotions

  • Designing flyers by hiring a freelancer graphic designer
  • Getting the flyers printed out
  • Moving around the city to find places where I could stick the flyers
  • Taking permission to stick the flyer

The second activity was certainly very exhausting. It was certainly “hard work”.

But here’s the thing:

When I looked at the data of my results, what I found was that the offline promotions resulted in ZERO conversions.

Not one. Not two. ZERO.

Whereas the activity which I could have done being half-asleep in an air conditioned room resulted in ALL the conversions.

On the face of it, running Facebook ads did not feel or seem like hard work, but it is what got results.

It was so easy that I actually used to feel guilty about it.

And this is the important point.

I felt guilty because just like everyone else, I had been conditioned into thinking that work always has to be hard and unpleasant.

And understanding this point is very important if you are to be an entrepreneur.

Because in a job, “hard work” will always be appreciated since an employee is not accountable for the company’s bottom line. As long as the manager/supervisor feels the employee is a hard worker, the employee usually faces no issues.

That’s one of the reasons why companies hire people with higher GPAs. Because they know such people will be diligent and hard working.

But in entrepreneurship, there’s no one to fool.

The joke will be on you.

You only have to do that which is effective, whether it is hard or easy.

Your focus has to be only on results.

The “deep conditioned satisfaction” of hard work is not important.

And this is a great thing.

Because it means you can do less and yet get fantastic results, something which is not possible as an employee.

As an employee, you cannot tell your boss – “I did what’s necessary and now I want to go home and relax.

This is why I love entrepreneurship. It rewards REAL work. Not hard work.

I don’t even call it smart work. I call it REAL work.

REAL work is more important than hard work.

Even most entrepreneurs fall for the myth of hard work and tell you things like – “You have to work 16-18 hours everyday as an entrepreneur and have sleepless nights.” It’s simply not true if you understand the nature of REAL work.

I am not against hard work.

But the correct way to work hard is to find the REAL work and increase its frequency.

If you understand this, you will realize Entrepreneurship gives you the ultimate freedom to express yourself and your work in a way that fits your innate nature and personality.

You can run things YOUR WAY.


P.S – Last year, I wrote another similar article on the topic of hard work, titled Talent vs Hard Work. Check that out too.


Kush Sharma

Click Trainers

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