The Real Definition of Hard Work

How do you define hard work?  Is your definition, simply defined as any work that is “hard”?  I was pondering this thought the other day, and it’s a very real question when it comes to defining success.

What makes hard work, hard work?

Is something hard work if you like doing it?  Is it hard work when you are energized, excited and thrilled about doing it?  Can we call it hard work if we like doing it?

Is hard work any work that is difficult, complex, arduous, onerous, strenuous, time-consuming, painful, etc.? Is that hard work? What if the work is easy, can we call that hard work?

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say no. The definition of hard work is much bigger than that. I believe hard work is defined as the things we don’t want to do. It’s the mental component of hard work that makes the work hard.  It’s not hard work we struggle with, but rather the work we don’t like.

It’s the stair training. It’s the paperwork. It’s the leg work out. No one likes leg day.  It’s working when we’re tired. It’s the pool work when you don’t like swimming. It’s the hill climbs. It’s reading the contract. It’s the editing. It’s the cold calls. It’s the research. It’s the writing the proposal. It’s inputting shit in Salesforce. It’s all the crap we can’t stand doing, no matter how big or how small, that hard work is.

It’s not about how hard the work is, but rather how much we like it.

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When we don’t like something, it becomes exponentially harder. It’s hard because our motivation to do it, to keep doing it, to do it right becomes compromised.

The Easy Zone – When the work is easy to do, and you like it. It’s not hard work. It’s that simple. No one argues it’s hard work. We do everything in the easy zone. The easy zone is like being on vacation or our hobbies. When something is easy to do, and we love it, and it gets done.

The Convincer Zone(s) – The convincer zones are danger zones. They convince us we’re doing hard work because the work isn’t easy. But, the truth is, it’s not hard work either. The convincer zones make us work harder than we want to, but they aren’t hard work.  In the convincer zones, we are working on things that may be difficult, complex, strenuous or time consuming, but we like them. We enjoy doing them, so it’s truly not hard work.  Other times the convincer zone lures us into believing we’re working hard because we’re doing shit we hate. It may not strenuous, complex, time-consuming or difficult, but we hate it. We don’t like doing it. Therefore, we see it as hard work and convince ourselves we’re working hard.

The convincers zones create a wall to greatness. The keep us from truly attaining greatness, because they convince us that we’re working hard without going that extra mile. The wall to greatness walls us off from the promise land. It convinces us we’re doing what we need to do to crush it, even when we’re not.

Real Hard Work Zone – The real hard work zone is the only zone that truly represents hard work. When we don’t like doing something, and it’s fucking difficult, complex, strenuous, demanding, grueling, tedious, or exhausting it’s hard work.  The Real Hard Work Zone is what we get to when we power through the wall.  The real hard work zone takes real discipline. When we’re truly working hard, we’re playing at a different level. We’re outside our comfort zone and the only thing motivating us to spend time doing things we don’t like that are difficult, painful, complicated and onerous is a desire to win, to succeed.

If you want break out, get to the next level, crush it, and pull ahead of the competition learn how to get good at doing really hard work, work that you don’t like to do AND is really, really hard.