I bet like me you were told (and continue to hear) that to get ahead or to reach the next level you have to work hard.

Work harder, and you’ll accomplish more; work harder, and you’ll be better; work harder, and you’ll get the results you want.

Our culture has such a reverence for hard work; we make it seem as if all you have to do to be guaranteed success and wealth is: work hard(er).

The Delusion of Hard Work

Though worn as a badge of honor by many, ‘hard work’ is such a loaded phrase. And usually what comes with it is the expectation of long hours and weekends and minimal “me” time – which is regularly associated with success, which is frequently linked to earning a lot of money.

But as you know – maybe even from personal experience – there are a lot of people who work hard yet feel short changed when it comes to success and wealth.

On the off-chance you and I are not operating with the same definition of ‘hard work,’ let me be clear: I am not talking about hard work that comes from challenging yourself to reach beyond your limits – that expands your confidence because you overcame a difficult task or met a monumental milestone.

When I talk about the delusion of hard work, I’m speaking of ‘hard work’ as a constant state of being that lauds struggle and dismisses ease.

When struggle trumps ease, all hell breaks loose – if not immediately, then eventually. And as a result, you tend to:


  • Conflate the relationship between time and money with the relationship between time and work. They are NOT one-in-the-same and your income doesn’t have to be proportional to your investment of time.
  • Conflate ‘hard work’ with focused-effort, discipline, consistency, practice, and a willingness to experiment.
  • Assume there’s something wrong if what you’re doing doesn’t always require ‘hard work’ and it isn’t experienced as difficult. This way of being can become so “natural” for you that it extends beyond your work to include your personal relationships and how you relate to and manage your money, as well!


All this presents a conundrum for successful, financially-aware people like you – particularly if you’ve been operating under the spell of what I call the traditional, old-way of thinking about ‘hard work’.

Literally, you tend to work harder for your money than it does for you. Metaphorically, you work harder for your money than it does for you because you don’t have fun managing all aspects of it; so you’re likely to pay less attention to the parts you don’t like.

Another problem: You’re more likely to resist and close your eyes to new information, especially if it contradicts the reality you want to keep or are simply comfortable keeping.

Hard Work: Redefined

It is true: Work is an important element to your success – financial or otherwise. But if we look at ‘work,’ and the results thereof, as a derivative of focused-effort, discipline, consistency, practice, and a willingness to experiment, then the big question becomes: Are you doing what matters when it matters?

Of course, this presupposes you KNOW what matters and when it needs to get done! 🙂

So…do you?

Let me know by leaving a comment!

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