You are not special.

There is plenty of rhetoric around motivation and getting people off their back sides. You may have heard some of it. I’ve seen it being peddled about — have done some peddling myself. It is an easy sell. People like to believe they are special, different, unique. That they are not like normal people, people who are part of the cues you are in, people in the cars around you during traffic jams, people who, like you, increase their usage of the internet on weekends. You and I like to believe the world we inhabit is one that revolves around us. It’s a good feeling, a special feeling.

Why are there so many people in the cue?
Oh God! These idiots don’t know how to drive and are blocking my way!
Man why does everyone have to start downloading movies on the weekend?

People are not in your way. They are not causing a jam. They are not using your internet. You are as much a hurdle (part of) their story as they are of yours. You don’t inhabit this world alone and you are not the center of it.

You work hard because we live in a culture of responsibility.

My little baby is a responsible adult now!
You’re growing older now son, start taking responsibility.
Guys, c’mon we all have to take personal responsibility for the targets.

Responsibility is like your gateway to being taken seriously in society, at work, even in your own home.

Beta zimmedaar bano ab toh tumhari shaadi hogayi hai.

Now when everyone is pushed to be responsible, it is natural that some will be more responsible than others. Comparisons and subsequently competition will ensue.

Their son started a business when he was 19 — such a responsible kid!
Your elder brother always does the dishes and makes his bed, you’re also old now — take responsibility.
Faraz took initiative and started this entire project by himself. You really need to up your game if you want to progress at work.

In the midst of this competition — the only way to succeed is to be super productive, super efficient. To put in every thing you got. Working hard then seems less and less like a choice and more and more like an obligation. We are not special for working hard, not special for achieving results, not special at all. If we work hard its because there is no other way. Not because we are so special. Only because we are so afraid of failure and so hopeful of a comfortable tomorrow.

Michel Foucault once defined madness as the absence of work.

There is a flip side to this story. The system ensures you are motivated to work hard and add value to society. The more discipline and performance you display the more the system rewards you. Higher input will lead to higher returns for you personally.

So please, its as simple as that.

Working hard doesn’t make you special. It makes you sane.
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