There are so many experts in the grind 25 / 8 camp that will tell you if you’re not cranking 130% you’re doing it wrong, or if don’t get up at 4:20am you are falling behind. To which I will point out that most people who are spitting this wisdom are A. trying to sell you something or B. taking advantage of your work product. In my opinion if you are living for the weekend then you are doing it wrong. It’s your life, live it.
Understand me, I’m not saying don’t work hard. If you don’t work you will never get anywhere, If you don’t paddle, the canoe still moves but you will have no control over where it goes. I am saying you shouldn’t hate it. If your goal is to be a conspicuous consumer and flying with Bezos to the stratosphere but the grind is killing you and you hate every step of the journey is the goal even worth attaining.
Too often we are presented with icons of the uber rich, held to a standard of keeping up with the Jones that is just so outmoded. Long ago I decided that I was never going to work for anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I have had many jobs. Jobs are when you make an arraignment with someone to give up time, share expertise, or do physical labor in exchange for valuable consideration.
Where work, to me, is something you desire to do, and usually something it takes time to get good at. A motorcycle racer is working when she turns in a personal best time, an artist is working when those nine attempts result in the one that makes you step back and smile. In the same way that a mathematician is working when he solves the equation and an entrepreneur is working when they complete the pitch and it is perfect. The work isn't in getting the sale or winning the race, that’s the result. I might even go so far as to say once you’ve gotten that sale or presented that masterpiece that is when work becomes a job. Now you have to make more, do more, get more. This is where it falls apart for me, the constant grappling for more. There is a reason why all the analogies are “nose to the grindstone” and “the rat race” because rats race on wheels never getting anywhere and that grindstone will keep spinning long after it has ground your face to bone. Like Candy Crush, you play all you want get as far as you can but you will never get to the end of the game.
I tell my young daughter when she comes down with a case of the gimmes that people who want everything are never happy because they can never have everything. Better to be content with what you do have and do the work that you are drawn too.
I am a process over product kind of guy. I enjoy the doing, the crafting of the sentence, the stringing together of the esses on the track. Once the table is constructed I really don’t care much what happens to it. The essence of work is always for me, a job is what you do for someone else. If your goal is to have a published book then put in the work and write it. If your goal is to have a number one best seller you’ll probably be disappointed. If your goal is to be Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk you need to open your eyes and realize that no amount of “grind” is going to get you that, you will never be them.