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Hard work is overrated

Success and effort appear inextricably linked. If you want something - put your back into it! That narrative is deeply woven into our cultural psyche and makes it something to be proud of, even to boast about.

Our culture’s reverence for work is unlimited. Many ambitious professionals boast of feats of productivity. Whilst much of this is bluster, no generation in history has worked as hard as ours. Hard work is seen as a sign of status accompanied with brags of “I’m so busy”.

But too often, work is less about achieving specific goals than engaging in work-like activity for its own sake, even a psychological safety blanket. Perhaps it's easier to work hard than it is to think hard. Making notes of things to do can merely postpone the more difficult task of deep thinking. Perhaps going for a stroll would be better. It may not feel like work but could be more productive.

Far from being a virtue, hard work can be a consequence of a flawed approach and can be extremely damaging to you and the people around you. Success isn't a fluke, it's the result of strategy. Like a round peg (your action) fitting into a round hole (the context). If brute force is needed, you are probably on the wrong path and it could be a sign that the market doesn’t value what you are offering. 

There is a path of least effort between you and your goal. It may be complex and might involve innovation to build a successful business, but you know it exists, so find another way.

Find the path of least effort and pursue a strategy of virtuous laziness! 

Perhaps we could all use more creative leisure time.

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