I work a lot. Like A LOT.
And, when I look back at my 20s, I actually wish I would have worked more.
I ambitiously sacrificed a large amount of the fun that most kids in their early 20’s in exchange for a chance to build a meaningful career.
I actually love to borrow a term from sportscaster Colin Cowherd to describe this so-called sacrifice…
“Surrender the Bro Years”
Ok… so, even though I skipped college parties, and lots of boating trips, camp outs, and other potential world travel to chose to work like crazy, I know I could’ve done more.
Yes. MORE. But how?
I definitely don’t think I should have worked more days.
I KNOW I shouldn’t have worked more hours.
What I’ve realized now is that I could’ve worked much more FOCUSED.
In those younger years I thought working hard meant working non-stop. Always on, and always focused on winning in business.
But, all that time I spent CONSTANTLY working wore me down to where I wasn’t very sharp very often.
My mind couldn’t think as creatively with no time to unwind.
My body couldn’t get into great shape being constantly worn out.
And it was difficult to make friends because I thought I always needed to be looking at my phone (which was a BlackBerry back then).
So I say all that to say this…
The Way I Did It Was Perfect.
What I did was perfect.
I know, that sounds crazy…but hear me out.
I can say that because those actions and decisions brought me here so I could write this blog post for you to read.
Everything we all do is perfect. It has to be. Because there’s no what-if machine or time machine, to check on what other decisions would’ve caused.
And while the past may be just right, it doesn’t mean that we can’t use history to teach us how we can change our intentions for future actions.
What my past ambitions have taught me is that it actually takes LESS work than I think to be successful.
Less days in a row. Less hours per week. Less constant thinking.
What it takes is more meaningful days, and more meaningful hours. It’s thinking about work less often, but when you are thinking about it, you become consumed with it.
Profound change to experience. And one that can’t be communicated unless you’ve had it too!
BTW, I know I’m not some genius for talking about this concept. I know it has existed for years and been called 100 different things communicated 1000 different ways. But here’s the thing, it has to hit you at the right time from the right person with the right delivery for it to be profound. 8000 people read these blog posts per month. If it strikes one person just right, then it’s a success to me!
So why all the hours and why all the days and why all the constant attention on work?
Survival Mode Turned Into Ego Driven
It started out as a survival thing.
I dropped out of school and perused a career against the advice of most everyone, especially my parents that were paying my tuition at the University of Utah.
So I had to win, or face the “I told ya so’s” and quite possibly experience the real world for the cold thing that most tell you it is.
In order to win, I did what I knew…I hustled my face off. At first, the insane work ethic worked great!
But then something changed…
While it started as a survival thing, it eventually turned into an ego thing.
I needed the bragging rights from all those hours. I wanted the reactions from people when I told them worked 81 hours last week.
I’m not joking when I say that I used to hang my time card on my own refrigerator!
But it wasn’t just ego though…
It was also insecurity.
I was over stating the importance of my efforts in order to appease the opinions of other people.
The funny thing though about that…And this is going to get super meta here…
The “opinions of other people” that we so often concerned about, are actually our own opinion of what we think their opinion is going to be.
That means that I did all this out of a need to either impress someone or to not look bad to someone, and there’s a very good chance that they either didn’t give a shit, or they actually thought the opposite, thinking that I was a lunatic or an egomaniac (as always, truth is probably somewhere in the middle).
But we never pick our head up to think that the opinions of others are actually OUR opinions of what they’re opinions might be, because we’re too busy being consumed by what we think other people think.
The old saying applies perfectly, perception becomes reality.
“Everyone is watching so I better work 56 hours this week!”
No One Counts the Hours on Your Timecard Except You and Your Significant Other.
No one counts the hours on your timecard except you and your significant other.
Usually at least one of those two hates it!
So what’s the lesson?
The lesson is, work hard AF while you’re clocked in. Maybe strategize a little when your clocked out, but for hell sakes, clock out in body, mind, and soul. Get away, do something else you love, and enjoy life.
In between accomplishments there’s this thing called life that’s pretty fun to enjoy.