No substitute for hard work

Since the idea for this post arrived in my brain on Sunday, five days ago. I have been avoiding writing it. I don’t really have a good reason as to why, but it has been a struggle to sit down and write. Maybe because the words are important to me, just as the concept of putting in the hard work is. In this there is a beautiful irony.

Over the past year I have become more interested in how to encourage myself to get motivated and stay motivated, without overworking myself. A few motivated and hard-working people I follow on YouTube consistently remind me this is achievable. They remind me it doesn’t so much matter what we are doing if we’re not putting in the hard work to do it as best we can. Jocko Willink, a former navy seal, talks about taking ownership of the decisions we make and the consequences that result because of them. Whether they be good or bad. Learn from mistakes we make and question why things are done a particular way so we can improve the process. He suggests going further, doing more than is asked of us, to be as prepared as we can to alleviate any potential risks before they have a chance to foil our plans. From his military experience Jocko talks about what mistakes and being unprepared cost: lives.

Our decisions may not seem like they could have the same consequences, but we should still do the groundwork and be as prepared as we can.

Another motivated individual I’ve started paying attention to recently is David Goggins. He is another former navy seal who is honest about the importance of working hard. One thing he said that’s stuck with me is that often we’re waiting for the magical feeling of motivation, to wake up in the morning and all of a sudden feel like doing what we know we need to do. He signs off every video with the words ‘Stay hard’ which at first might seem quite callous. But his encouragement prompts hard work, and belief in ourselves because we can do it. Life will throw obstacles in our way. It is not our job to sub out when we come up against one, aiming to substitute back in after the obstacle has been overcome.

One of the more recent YouTubers I’ve come across, thanks to a recommendation from my sister, is Footless Jo. She consistently shows and reminds us that if we want something we need to put in the effort to get it, even in spite of the parts of us, physical and mental, that will try and prevent us getting there. If we spend all our effort and energy feeling sorry for ourselves, different to actively resting or the processing of painful emotion, then we waste that effort and energy.

A blog I have returned to often is Captain Awkward. She consistently reminds her readers to be intelligent with effort, and where possible deal with any issues as soon as possible. Easier said than done, as being honest with ourselves and with others can be difficult. Even knowing this is one of the best ways for us to grow, we can turn away and avoid putting in the hard work to overcome the obstacles in our path. A small amount of pain now, by having an honest conversation, can avoid the build up of unnecessary resentment within our soul.

We all want to be at the finish line already. To have whatever problems we’re facing solved, without having to go through the process of sorting them ourselves. We can give up before we’ve even given what we want to achieve a good go. Plan the steps required to get there and progress towards achieving them each day. Little steps on the days we’re struggling, bigger steps on the days we are functioning at a higher capacity. Make use of every day, because motivation, the feeling we want to do something, is driven by putting one foot in front of the other and doing it. Not by thinking about doing it, nor waiting for someone else to travel the journey for us. We will benefit from working together with those around us, but we must not expect them to do the work.

We must put the effort in. We must do the work.

Are there things you are avoiding? Even if you really want to do them? How do you push through the resistance and get stuck in? Do you? What challenges have you overcome recently?

Let us know in the comments below. Peace.

Photo by Vlad Chețan from Pexels


10 thoughts on “No substitute for hard work

  1. AP2 says:

    I think this is why you have to both believe in what you’re doing and love it. So those days you don’t feel like it you still have enough in the tank to show up. I’d add it’s more important to focus on forming habits and having a routine. Designing your environment to promote productivity. Willpower is overrated!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Hamish says:

      This is something I’m a bit sad I’ve only started doing recently. I used to fly by the seat of my pants pretty much all the time, making decisions in the moment without properly thinking about where that would lead me. I know I definitely work better when I give myself goals in what I want to achieve in any given day. Examples at the moment are blocking in time for writing my blogs, finishing the draft of my book, editing my book, practicing guitar to get better, and recording my songs. (Thanks Kiran from Pro Investivity for the encouragement to actively block time in.) As you say, designing our environment the right way, and forming the right habits is key. When I do this right I fall into doing the things I want to rather than having to push past resistance to do them!

      Thank you for your comment. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Godfrey says:

    Thanks for sharing. It is powerful and hard to digest. This is what I like, surrounding myself with people who challenges how I think. Doing the things needs to be done even when the odds are against me, it is what fuels me to keep going and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it is a hardwork.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you for your encouragement. If we challenge ourselves, we have greater opportunities for growth. I have to remind myself often that it is ok to fail as long as I learn something from the experience. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. PoojaG says:

    Great post! I think it takes a lot of hard work for most people to achieve their goals but one of the problems we face as humans is that a lot of people don’t want to put in the hard work but want to get results. One way I stop from procrastinating and encourage myself to work hard is by making sure I reward myself at the end of the day with positive reinforcement.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hamish says:

    Celebrate success. An important part of encouraging ourselves to keep going. Little victories and big ones we must acknowledge and be proud of. And use this positivity to propel ourselves forward to more progress.

    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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