It's a really popular point of view here on the WF.
Even though it may make me unpopular for saying this, I don't think it's necessarily true.
Some of you are already thinking of a flame response, but hear me out before you drop the axe.
Sure, you can achieve great success by working your ass off. But it's not a prerequisite.
I do agree that taking action is necessary and needs to be consistent. But I don't agree that work needs to be hard, just for the sake of being hard.
I think as a society we tend to place too high a value on personal sacrifice. Maybe it's because of our predominantly Christian values. (I was born and baptized in a strict Catholic family, so I'm not knocking Christianity. I just know mentality.)
But life experience and personal mentors keep handing me advice that is contradictory to this idea.
Let me show you what I'm talking about...
My very first personal hero - still one of my biggest - is my father. He had a dream of becoming a multimillionaire in his home country of the Philippines. He would tell me that this was his dream as a child and knew that it would someday would be true. Just as he was certain the sun would rise the next day.
He grew up in the poorest of situations. For example, to get clean drinking water every morning he would boil water from a mosquito infested well. He didn't have a refrigerator. He didn't have a TV. In fact, his home didn't even have a floor. It was just dirt.
To make a long story short. My father became an electrical engineer and found a way to move to the U.S.. Started his own business and invested in real estate. His goal is accomplished and now he's retired and living in luxury back in his home country.
The one piece of advice that he always tried to pound into my head was, "Don't work hard. Work smart."
Being an outstanding mathematician, he was obsessed with efficiency and simplifying formulas. So I think that what he leaned towards.
Fast forward decades later. I'm now in college, studying computer science.
One of my favorite teachers told me something prolific. He said that the laziest programmers make the best programmers. He said that the best programmers are always searching for ways to make things easier.
This again meant always being on the hunt for simplicity and efficiency.
Fast forward again to just a few years ago. I'm reading Tim Ferriss's book, The 4 Hour Workweek. Almost the entire book is devoted to building systems for minimizing personal effort, while still maximizing profits and output.
This book still sits comfortably on the NY times best sellers list. It has been for years!
Many other books in this genre repeat the acronym K.I.S.S. like it's gospel.
I also, practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ for short. For those of you who aren't familiar, it has been called the most effective martial art style every created. The entire principal of BJJ is based off of using technique and leverage to overcome a larger, stronger, faster, and more athletic person.
From personal experience, using too much muscle in a fight - instead of skill - usually ends up with you getting your butt kicked.
This translates to anything in life.
From my point of view...
Muscle and brute force = hard work.
Technique, skill, and leverage = smart work.
Smart Work > Hard Work.
This is why I like the 80/20 principal so much. It cuts through all the bullsh#t and minimizes your effort while at the same time increases the value of your output.
I realize that I could just be playing with semantics. To some people, hard work and smart work aren't separate. If so, that's cool.
But if you're one of those that defines your worth by personal sacrifice, maybe it's time to rethink that.
Life should be challenging, but in a fun way. Like video games or picking up girls (or boys). Life should be filled with eustress. And we should always keep distress to a minimum.
It shouldn't be this upstream swim until you die. We're human beings. The rulers of this planet. Not brainless salmon.