The hardest thing to do is to resist easy work. To steer clear of the softball tasks like checking email, starting your washing machine or placing an order on Amazon whenever you have better things to do. Things like training, learning, thinking, creating, innovating. The bare-knuckle, take-no-prisoners, hard work, you know.
That’s not to say easy work should’t be done at all. We all agree it is a good idea to do your laundry or answer email. But as good as clean clothes and an empty inbox make us feel, this kind of work, the routine, low engagement chores and errands, should not get in the way of rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business.
That’s because, ultimately, hard work is where the real payoff is. It is the satisfaction of solving a tough engineering problem, the excitement of writing a great movie script, the euphoria of making the perfect pass on the football field. Hard work is what gives us pride and a sense of accomplishment. What makes us feel we are reaching our true potential.
But you cannot expect to just do it. On the contrary, doing hard work is a life’s endeavor. You have to nurture it on an ongoing basis to fortify yourself against the temptations of easy work. Day-in and day-out, you have to show up for practice, whether you get results or not. Whether you get paid for it or not. Whether you feel like it or not.
Don’t let easy work fool you. It only gobbles up your attention and leaves little room for work that actually matters. It suffocates the kind of work that makes a difference. Work that may be tough and challenging at times, but which captivates your mind and fills your heart with joy. Work that perhaps one day you will be remembered for.