I happen to be in the camp of people that believe we should be working hard! We should be doing everything we can to be achieving our goals, fulfilling our responsibilities, and achieving our dreams. I’m one of those hard nosed people who believe anything short of that cheats those we work with/for, but most importantly, ourselves. By not behaving in that way, we fail to fulfill our commitments, and possibly potential.
But, I’m not sure that’s a widely held view of working hard. It seems the more common view is the “nose to the grindstone” view, judging working hard by the hours we put in. We see people proudly saying, “I work 50, 60, 70 hours a week…..” Those same people tend to look down on those not matching their hours.
We tend to associate those hours with a person’s commitment and toughness. There is a certain amount of machismo that tends to conflate working hard with goal attainment. Yet, they can be very separate issues.
But what about those people putting in enormous numbers of hours, yet consistently failing to achieve their objectives? What about those who start early in the morning, working late into the evening, available 7×24 for meetings/calls; yet failing to meet their commitments to others and them selves?
Why do we think of working hard in terms of hours, effort, pounds of sweat? Why do we measure someone’s commitment to the job or achieving a goal by these terms—even if they consistently fail?
Some might say, “Dave, you are confusing working hard with working smart.”
But aren’t they inseparable? We work to achieve goals. Sometimes, it takes us hours to do achieve a goal. Sometimes it takes a very short period of time?
Why do we tend to look down on the person that takes some time off–perhaps to go to the gym, spend time with their families/friends, or just schedule “think/reflection” time? There’s all sorts of research suggesting happiness and goal attainment is higher when we balance our time across a variety of things, when we take time off to refresh, or do something else.
Perhaps a better measure of working hard is our ability to consistently achieve our goals, meet our commitments, pursue our dreams. Or our ability to grow, learn, move forward when we fail. Or our sense of fulfillment and “happiness” with achieving those things?
Whether it takes an hour, or 70 hours, isn’t our ability to achieve our consistently achieve our ability to achieve our goals a better definition of working hard?