Working Smart (the new "work ethic")
So many people believe that a strong work ethic involves working hard and grinding away at what they do (whether they like it or not) in order to achieve some sort of measurable result. But what many do not realize is that we can achieve the same success, if not more success, by choosing the path of least resistance. But what does that mean exactly?
The path of least resistance is not a lazy or apathetic one. On the contrary, it is a path of inspiration, enlightenment, and purposeful action. When we are aligned with our path of least resistance that doesn't mean we don't take risks in the face of fear but rather that we make choices out of passion and authentic desire to manifest the results we seek. When we are least resistant to our inner wisdom and guidance, that is when we work smart and not necessarily hard to get to the essence of what we want.
This might sound like an idealistic principle that is only achievable in theory but, in fact, it is actually a very pragmatic way of going about your daily activities. When you work off of inspiration you will still put in the time, energy, and effort to get things done, but the experience will be so much more invigorating and energizing. For example, as a writer, when I set out to write a book it doesn't just happen on its own. While I do work off of inspiration, I still have to organize my thoughts, write things down, and edit my work. And trust me, writing a book is a very time and energy-consuming endeavor, yet it does not feel like work to me.
So that is the key: doing what you love happily rather than pushing through what you hate begrudgingly. Now I know that not everyone is going to live their dream right away and I know that we all have responsibilities and obligations with which to contend, but I am not telling you to quit your job tomorrow or put all of your resources into starting your own business today. What I am suggesting is that you take steps towards your goals, whether small or large, on a regular basis so that you can eventually turn your passions into profits and enjoy what you do so much that it won't feel like work to you. You will still likely get tired at the end of the day but it will be an energized and accomplished kind of tired, not exhaustion from being over-worked, uninspired, and under-appreciated. I know for myself, when I think of all of the things I have yet to do it can feel quite overwhelming. But when I break it down into smaller steps and take them one after the other, over time I look back and marvel at everything I have accomplished. So instead of getting paralyzed by fear and overwhelm I choose to take one action at a time, with presence, focus, and enjoyment, and eventually I get to bigger and bigger results.
Sometimes we will need to do things we aren't crazy about, as not all of us have the luxury of delegating to a team. But in those cases we can choose to shift our perspective from "chore" to "purpose" so that we can build momentum and work smart even when we are doing things that we don't particularly like. Even when you are going through the motions to meet your obligations, know that choosing actions that feel good and are aligned with your goals, passions, or at least skills will be much more productive than spending time on fruitless complaining or feeling sorry for yourself.
We do not have to work "hard" in order to deserve or earn our success. Working hard by the standard definition is out-dated and no longer the ideal. Working smart, on the other hand, is the direction in which many are heading towards. People are waking up to the need to live a life of purpose, passion, and authenticity, and it is from this vantage point that we will end up being invigorated and energized to not only get things done, but also enjoy our journey along the way.