How do we know hard work never killed anyone?
Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Having spent all my adult life believing that hard work never killed anyone and that you earn your bread by the sweat of your brow, I am now questioning whether these great values still serve me. It’s been challenging.
It seems I am not alone in my belief in hard work. At a recent forum, I realized that many successful people live their lives based on similar beliefs.
This realization came about as a result of a case study at a recent peer-to-peer forum in which a leader, having hired and trained a great management team and delegated most of the workload, still felt under stress due to lack of time. All the other leaders present recognized the scenario.
We all acknowledged that it was our hard work, dedication, and commitment to goals that got us to where we are, but we wondered why we’re not experiencing a greater sense of fulfillment. What is stopping us from enjoying the view from the top of the mountain?
It’s the belief that in order to have all the good things, we need to have put in the full day’s work because we do not deserve what we desire from life without working as hard as we do.
We also acknowledged that relaxing more, standing back and allowing others to take more responsibility is hard and difficult work, as it challenges the essence of who we think we are; our belief systems.
A nine-month hiatus
Believe it or not, I wrote the first part of the blog (above) back in October 2018 but for some reason, I didn’t finish or publish it. I now know why.
I ended up taking the next nine months off from writing blogs and from developing new business. I spent a lot more time relaxing and meditating. At first, this proved quite stressful as the old committed Kevin was fearful I would lose the business gains I had worked so hard to achieve. Those hard work values were very engrained.
Was there something in the writing of that blog that flicked a switch in my brain? In any case, recently, the switch flicked again. Now I am getting stuck into developing the new business again and writing my blogs, which I always enjoyed and found good for my business. But I feel much more energetic and creative. In the space of two weeks, I have written five blogs, which would normally be three months’ output.
Plus, all the pieces of my new business strategy are in place for launching in September. On top of that my existing business has grown by over 30% in the meantime and the feedback and attendance at my forums have improved beyond all recognition!
Taking time to be more present
It now seems clear to me that meditating is not just about taking the time to sit quietly and let the world go by. It is equally about being more present to your thoughts and feelings and why you might be thinking them.
I also see that the stress around hard work comes from over-thinking, over-analyzing and trying to control the outcomes we think we want, rather than the work itself.
The sky has not fallen in
I believe a major shift in my approach to work and life has taken place in the course of those nine months. I started to accept that every so-called bad thing that happened in my life is part of my learning – my Ph.D. in life. I came to realize that many others are challenged just as I am and each person is doing the best they can in each moment, given the resources they believe they have available.
I had a kensho
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this article entitled ‘The Neuroscience of Awakening’ written by scientist Jeff Warren. In it he sets out the thesis that meditating is the route towards a neurological ‘letting go’ which can have a profound effect on mental state. So you see, science is interested in the amazing effects meditating can have on the brain.
For me, meditating and stepping back has made me more ‘chilled out’ about life. I can now multi-task without being stressed and I can be totally focused without being distracted. In my reading I have also discovered that many others are going through the same experience as I am.
So that’s the rather long story of why I haven’t been blogging for a while! The moral, I suppose, is that hard work is not the only route to success and fulfilment.