So many people come to me and say “Tai — is it better to work smarter or harder?” or “Isn’t it best to do both?” So I feel like I need to make a clarification.
Working Smart Entails a Measure of Working Hard
The goal is never to work harder. We don’t build fuel efficient cars just to be able to put more gas in them. We build them because we want to make them go farther on less fuel. Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, says “our investment strategy borders on sloth.”
What he’s saying is that sometimes it seems like he’s lazy… but is he really? Did Warren Buffett never have to work hard? Of course, he did! The difference between Warren Buffett and most of us (with the exception of money) is that he doesn’t get confused on the difference between working smarter and working harder.
Hard Work Is Not A Badge Of Honor
Working harder doesn’t entitle you to put yourself up on a pedestal. It’s not a badge of honor. That’s not to say, however, that you should avoid it, but rather know when to work hard versus when to work smart. Working hard should be used to help you get to the point where you can work smart — not replace it.
One of the most classic scenes in the movie Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark shows this huge swordsman, swinging his sword around and seconds away from killing poor Indy, when Indy breaks out a gun and shoots the swordsman dead. The guy with the gun wins against the guy with the sword — every time.
In this case, it didn’t matter how much that master swordsman trained or honed his art. All it took was one bullet to stop him.
Working Harder Doesn’t Guarantee Success
If you think that the harder you work, the more successful you’ll become, and the richer you’ll be — I have news for you:
The top 10 richest people in the world make more money than the bottom 3.5 billion people combined.
Let that sink in for a moment.
How hard can 10 men work in a day? At most, 240 hours. How much can 3.5 billion people work if they only work one hour a day? 3.5 billion hours. There are absolutely people in this world who work harder — much harder — than the wealthiest people in the world.
And if I could go back in time, without a doubt, I’d tell myself to be lazier. Because it wasn’t until later in life that I had the sudden realization that what you put in or how much time you spend doesn’t correlate to how much you can earn. That’s where working smarter comes in.
Warren Buffett spends the majority of his days sitting around, looking for opportunities. In the last 50+ years, they’ve spotted a couple dozen of them, and that’s how his firm has made so much money.
Hard Work Resonates With The Primitive Part Of Our Brains
Now, you can’t fault someone for telling you that you’re gonna go far by working hard. That message resonates with a lot of people because in our primitive minds, 50,000 years ago, working hard was how you survived.
But when man discovered he was able to catch more fish with a spear or a hook than with his bare hands, all the hard work in the world wouldn’t keep his clan or his family fed. So we gradually began to work smarter as a means to get the results we wanted (in this case, food), faster. It was simply a more efficient use of our time.
And if you’re feeling burnt out with your work or at your job – then you’re working too hard. Working smarter will reignite that fire you once had for the work you do. You’ll be putting in less effort, but having better results to show for it.
Think about it.
By Tai Lopez
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