Everyone these days seems to be focused on doing more, more, more.
“Work hard! Be 10x! Hustle, hustle, hustle.”
Yes, it’s true working hard will get you far in life. However, it’s also the quickest way to burnout or severe health problems.
This is all ego, and chest-puffing to be the hardest working person alive, but it isn’t necessary to really achieve goals.
Learn or burn
I learned this the hard way.
By working over 16+ hours a day 7 days a week building my business it led to severe burnout. I worked all day, and all night only taking breaks to eat or sleep.
I thought if I worked harder on my business I would make more money and achieve my big goals. That’s what all the hustle gurus told us we should do.
I was wrong.
After only 2 years straight of living the “work hard” mantra, I completely burned out. I was miserable, and my physical and mental health hit rock bottom. Sure I hit my goals, but at a great cost.
I started to get sick more often, got fat, and barely saw people I cared about.
So I started looking for an alternative. Specifically, whether it was possible to accomplish the same goals or more while doing less.
In my search, I discovered it’s way better to work smarter.
Now I work “hard” a lot less, sometimes 3-4 hours a day max and have a much bigger impact on my business and life.
Create systems to do the work for you
One of my favorite business books is the Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco.
In it, MJ tells the parable of an Egyptian pharaoh and his two sons.
To quickly summarize the parable, a great Egyptian pharaoh summons his two young nephews, Azur and Chuma, and he commissions them to build two monumental pyramids as a tribute to Egypt.
Upon completion of each nephew’s pyramid, the Pharaoh promises each an immediate reward of kingship, retirement amidst riches, and lavish luxury for the rest of their natural lives. Additionally, each nephew must construct his pyramid alone.
The first nephew Azur spends years building his pyramid stone by stone. He focuses on working harder, getting stronger, and lifting more stones.
The second nephew Chuma instead focuses on building a machine that can build the pyramid for him.
It seems as if Chuma is not making any progress for years while Azur is building with hard work. That is until all of a sudden a giant machine made by Chuma is revealed and starts lifting the stones without effort building the pyramid in a short timeframe.
Chuma completely outpaces Azur by building a machine to build the pyramid for him, eventually winning all the riches.
Chuma is a badass, be like Chuma.
If you do as Chuma did and focus your hard work and efforts on building a machine or system instead of trying to be the hardest working person like Azur, you can build your own pyramids in life.
Work hard to build the system
Instead of just working hard on doing stuff or staying “busy”, focus your hard work on building a system that can eventually do it all or most of the hard work for you.
Jeff Bezos, for example, who became the richest man in the world with Amazon clearly works hard. However, he doesn’t deliver all the packages himself or pack boxes all day. He could never build Amazon as big as it is this way.
Instead, Jeff Bezos focuses on building the giant Amazon machine and system of employees, websites, fulfillment centers, and soon robots to do all the work.
Just like the Egyptian Chuma or Jeff who created machines to do the heavy lifting, you can work hard instead on creating systems to achieve your end goal.
Yes, you have to work hard, but you work hard on the machine to free up your time and efforts so you don’t have to work at all.
You frontload all the hard work into something that pays dividends over and over again.
Automate repetitive tasks
If you repeat a task more than once, specifically more than once a day, think about how you can automate it or create a system for it. Especially in your business or daily work.
This doesn’t just apply for work or business though.
You can automate cleaning, cooking and so much more.
Think about how you can create a system to automate and accomplish the repetitive things in your daily life whether it’s cutting the grass or cooking daily meals.
Unlike the Egyptian parable, you don’t have to do it all alone.
You can hire people to do things for you also and leverage their efforts. They get paid, and you get the work done. This is just the economic system at work.
If you work at a job, this is what your employer is doing.
You can also leverage other people’s creations instead of creating them yourself. Whether it’s buying a tool or software that automates a task, or simply buying a rice cooker to cook your rice while you do other things.
Focus on the right work, not hard work
Lastly, working hard is important, but remember to focus on the right work.
It’s not about how hard you work. There is no prize at the end for working harder than the next guy. No one cares, so why bother?
Only your ego and pride care.
There are no rules saying you have to work hard to achieve a goal. You just have to achieve it.
Just look at nature. Nature doesn’t necessarily work hard to do stuff, it always achieves its purpose by any means necessary, using its own systems.
A tree doesn’t care about being the hardest growing tree in the forest, it just grows.
You can do the same.
Once you apply this idea you will build your own pyramids in life bigger than you ever thought possible, without burning out, without sacrificing your health, and without sacrificing yourself or your family.
I’d rather be the guy who achieves his goals, than the hardest working guy in the grave.