A superhuman work ethic will take you to the stratosphere.
The ability to outlast your competition, strive harder for the finish line, and serve up results on a piping hot platter with a smile is going to get you the things you desire in this life.
If you aren’t trying to get better at delivering kick-ass results, you’re wasting your time.
Adding this skill to your toolbox of habits and having a long time perspective will allow you to be effective, instead of just being productive.
I call this a skill because it needs to be developed. You aren’t just born with this ability.
Your ability to generate tangible results is truly the only thing you have. You can lose your car, your house, and your job…but if you have a strong work ethic, you can get it all back PLUS more!
Having a strong work ethic comprises three things:
- Persistence – Showing up everyday and getting to work on the task
- Overcompensation – Going above and beyond on what is expected
- Focus – Being able to hone in on important aspects of the task
I’ll give examples from my own life that showed me the power of having a good work ethic.
I was skinny growing up. I was so thin you could have snapped me in half.
I had an aversion towards anything that involved lifting heavy objects – I told myself I wasn’t cut out for it. I had a fixed mindset.
The summer before I turned 21, I was working at the library on my college campus.
For some reason, I had an inclination to go to the gym. I looked up some exercises online and I decided to go.
I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I was lucky I didn’t tear or snap something. After some more research, I came across articles detailing peoples’ before and after pics.
I said: “Fuck. If these guys can do it, why can’t I?” I went to the gym day after day.
I then gathered up some of my friends once school started (none of us were in shape – we were were either twigs or blobs) and went. As the weeks progressed, more of them said they were done with it.
It was nice, but get real… there’s no way we’d be ripped to shreds.
After a couple of weeks, I was on my own. I went to the gym repeatedly. 5 days a week without fail. There were many days that I wanted to quit. But I stuck in there.
Then something amazing happened.
I started to get the physique that my friends and I were shooting for. I started to get stronger, more defined. The movements started to seem second nature to me. My little efforts were building up.
Now, the first thing I hear when people having seen me in a while is “Damn man! Have you been working out?” I saw one of the friends I used to train with a little while ago and he told me he wished that he had the discipline to persist.
I’m not Arnold Schwarzenegger by any means. But… I look back at pictures of me and it is night and day.
When I started to get bigger, I said to myself “If I can apply myself to this and see results, I can apply this to anything and see results.” Which is what happened in another case (though it took place before).
I was exposed to the world of coding when I was 20. I took a class and I said “I just need it for my credits”.
Little did I know this would be a catalyst for many other things to come.
One of our assignments was to code our own website and present it as a project. Here we fucking go.
There were many times I wanted to just go do something else.
Give me the F. I didn’t care.
The class was dumb, I didn’t like the teacher, etc, etc, etc. I made this, that, and the other up as an excuse.
I snapped out of it and soon found it unacceptable to join the choir of bitching students.
Then I started to ask myself: “What would happen if I gave this an honest effort?” I figured it couldn’t hurt. I was definitely half-assing my work at this point in the semester but I got a “second wind”.
I tirelessly researched ways on how to create better code and find solutions to problems that I was having. I started to rely on myself rather than have the teacher spoon-feed me.
Two months had passed. I presented my project and I got an A. I then decided I wanted to take it further and learn more about code in my spare time.
I now have a new skill set in my toolbox, all because I made a very simple decision.
Stay on it.
In illustrating these two stories from my personal life, I highlight the first aspect of a strong work ethic: persistence. But…the other two shouldn’t be downplayed either.
If I did not overcompensate with training and coding, I would have never gone the ends that I did to research and read books about them.
If I did not have determined focus with training and coding, my efforts would have been watered down and I would not be able to say I know how to do them effectively
Despite this, persistence is the most important factor. The one who gets off the island is the one who survives long enough for the rescue helicopter to come.
You have to take the bull by the horns and keep holding on until he tires. If you don’t… you lose!You have to take the bull by the horns and keep holding on until he tires. If you don't, you lose! Click To Tweet
“But I’m tired man…”
Do you know how many times YOUR parents got tired of raising you? I know mine did…countless times. If they were tired of showing me discipline, I would have gone astray.
Your parents would have given you the world if they could. I want to do that for them when they’re in their golden years. That’s why I wake up up everyday and hammer it until there’s nothing left. Incineration mentality.
Your parents didn’t get tired. What’s your excuse?
The first step
You need something that’ll inspire you. Something that will remind you why you’re even getting out of bed in the first place.
We all have something in our lives that can be improved. But we do nothing because…
- We don’t believe we can
- We don’t want to sacrifice something
- We’re not playing the long game
Set a goal. Forget appearances now. See things as they could be. Not as they are.
Also, look beyond yourself. If you’re completely selfish in your endeavors, you’ll see that it’s pretty difficult to get riled up to do anything. Think about what you can do for others. Think about how you can change the landscape and help others rise to where they want to be. Adopt a service mentality.
Don’t you want to be able to have the ways and the means to help your parents out when they’re older? Don’t you want to be able to have some type of career capital and dictate your own terms?
I find those to be pretty compelling reasons, especially where you pay it forward.
Once you do have a reason to work hard, you’ll find that it’s pretty easy. The hard part is gaining momentum.
Yes, due to the law of compensation, you will have to sacrifice one thing to get another. That’s how life works. Just make what you’re working towards SO important that the sacrifice seems irrelevant.