On working smart and working hard

If you Google the words “working hard vs working smart” you will see images of hard workers being portrayed as frustrated or stupid whereas smart workers are seen as… well, smart.

Why is that?

This is mainly due to the rise of lifestyle entrepreneurship made popular by best selling books such as the Four Hour Work Week (great book btw).

Why wouldn’t you want do more in less time right?

Now, if you are the type of person whose main concern is to get work done so that you can enjoy your “me time” and have a social life, then the antidote of working smart was created exactly for you.

However, if you strive to be a CEO or founder of a successful startup one day, you should view the idea of working smart with an additional caveat – working hard as well.

The debate about working hard and working smart is getting out of hand.

The real question to be posed is “Why not both?”

As mentioned earlier, being able to work smart seems to confer some form of social validation. Just working hard now means you haven’t taken the time (nor brains) to figure out a more effective way to get stuff done.

I personally struggled with this for a long time thinking it is either working smart or working hard.

But the longer you work in the “real world”, and not the world peddled by most self-help and productivity gurus, you soon begin to realize that hard friggin’ work is equally if not more important than smart work.

Don’t be fooled that by just working smart alone that you are able to get to the top – you can’t.

Working smart often implies getting away with less and doing the Minimum Effective Dose (so to speak), as in doing just enough to get by and not much else. When in actually fact, doing what’s more than needed is what that is going to separate you from the others.

Anyone can be lazy once the needed work is done, but few are willing to do that a little more extra to make their minimum needed work shine like a piece of art.

You learn to work smart so that you can get creating a masterpiece faster, not to producing mediocre work at scale.

So where does hard work come in?

With hard work, it looks like [SMART WORK] + [HARD WORK] = create masterpieces at scale.

Considering the fact that top CEOs have reported an average wakeup time of 6:15 a.m., with many rising before 5, and most worked at least two hours at home after dinner. In some cases, they work 18-hour workdays. Many of these industry leaders credit their success to working while others aren’t.

As Michael Moroney said in his piece on the matter:

“If we want to be successful, we shouldn’t be content to simply work smarter. The most successful people work smart, but they also work exceptionally hard. They maintain the same level of persistence and drive while learning ways to do things more efficiently.

We don’t all have to aspire to be CEOs, but for those of us that do, finding more effective ways to do things is only half the battle….

Young professionals and budding entrepreneurs must work smarter, harder, longer and better — because their competition already is.”

How to Think About Choosing Your Spouse

 

The most important decision you can make in life (as agreed with Warren Buffett and Sheryl Sandberg) is marrying the right person.

I have been reading a lot of mental models (learning how to think) and thoughts on decision making.

Warren Buffett has this notion of the “20 Slots”. He says if you were to imagine that we are given just 20 slots on a punchcard in life and no more, you would think very carefully before you punch any of the holes.

And he believes that all you need is less than 5 good decisions to have a great life – financially, emotionally and so forth.

My aim with this post is to give you my thoughts and how I think about making the most important decision in your life.

 

  1. Your worst is your best indicator

Growing up, I was told to do well in school so that I could eventually get a good job and have my life financially settled before dating someone.

There is merit to this argument as it highlights the importance of financial security.

Given the fact that most couples argue about money more than anything else, I can see why this path is often preached by our elders.

But what if the reason people argue about money is because they expect it to always be there?

In other words, the financial security itself is the set-up for setting expectations that money will always be ready and that the worry for money is distant.

We strive so hard to be the best version of ourselves (well off, educated and calm), but we forget that the worst version of ourselves are still within us (irrational, emotional and unstable).

Look for a person who can deal with your worst side, because anyone can deal with you at your best, but not anyone will bother with you at your worst.

Have someone who will love you at your worst, not your best.

 

  1. She will not always love you

Like all things in life, they don’t last forever.

The more poetic way to say this is “This too shall pass.”

I learnt a concept from Seneca on making friends, he contends that one should not make friends so that he will have people be there when he is in trouble, but instead make friends so that he can help them when they are in trouble.

Simple, but profound.

Don’t view marrying someone as a having a lifevest when you are sea, but view it as being the lifevest when they are at sea.

This goes contrary to popular belief, I know. But it is this that brings true joy.

Shakespeare once said that the mother of all disappointment is expectation.

When we put the onus onto us to do what we can do for them, every little act done by them is greatly appreciated on our end and that forms the basis of most relationships – being appreciated for each one’s efforts.

Don’t make friends so that they will be there for you, make friends so that you can be there for them.

 

  1. Good things only come about through compound interest

What does this mean?

It means that little things done everyday add up to something stronger over time.

I can attest to this personally.

I used to hear that marriages are soul-sucking affairs; not to mention all the marriage jokes one hears.

But it does age like wine if you put in effort everyday to make it good.

Little things done daily amount to great things over time.

 

The Shortest Post On Productivity

Don’t read any books.

Don’t look out for any productivity tips.

Don’t remember any steps.

Forget structure.

Just do it.

And be obsessed about it.

Treat it like your baby.