Writing Wednesday 010: Hard Work Is Its Own Reward.

What’s your work ethic like these days? Still got one?

Grinding. Hustling. Pushing. All these words get to the meat of one of my core tenets. Hard work. Whenever I feel my best I’m really working hard. I’ve grown to understand that to me hard work always involves an element of physicality. The kind of grind that I relate to is long, arduous and untraveled by most above the middle-class threshold. Construction, farming, lumberjacking, cooking, serving, training, fighting — and countless more all require a true commitment to hard work. Other specialties and careers require hard work too, but the majority is mental exertion. When you both have to physically and mentally exert as a Chef does, then to me it’s another level. But, let’s be honest. Just because you do a certain profession doesn’t mean you work hard. Just showing up isn’t working hard. Work ethic is getting rarer and rarer. Real work ethic — doing things right and putting in the maximum effort capable for the maximum duration. Keeping working and doing things correctly long after most have given up and called it a day.

I notice countless people are actually scared of hard work. They would never admit this fear, but it’s true. Different than laziness, fear of hard work is another animal. Laziness can take many forms, and I’ve been plenty lazy in my life. Forms of laziness include: procrastination, quitting early, doing absolutely nothing with your life, and looking for an easy route and many other ways that attribute can be described. That last one is where the crossover between laziness and fear of hard work share some ground. When someone's afraid of hard work they become more disposed to be lazy, but let me explain that. Fear of hard work includes: not wanting to get your hands dirty, being scared to sweat, avoiding hard workers, wanting instant results/gratification, and complaining when a task requires the use of the body — among many other examples. There is a difference, but it’s nuanced. I’ve been afraid of hard work, and lazy at points in my life, I’m not perfect. But, I’ve also rolled up my sleeves and busted my ass for up to 20.5 hours straight on my longest day, in a physically and mentally draining position as a private chef. I’ve worked upwards of 28 days without a day off, and am presently on about 17 consecutive days of work — many double shifts, a few triple shifts and an almost record-tying quadruple that totaled 20h 20 minutes. If you’re reading this and thinking I’m boasting, you’re partly right. I prefer to think of it in taking pride in real hard work. I’m young now and won’t be able to sustain this work capacity forever, but I actually enjoy it on a weird level. Knowing I’m out working almost everybody out there (there are plenty of people who still outwork me though) is a good feeling. Feeling good about the work you do is a major part of life, and whatever work I do I have to be one of the hardest workers. I’ve built a reputation on it, and it’s taken me places that a fearful and lazy soul cannot go. It is challenging and I like challenges.

A major obstacle and challenge for me and my work ethic is to apply it to creative projects. I’ve got books I want to write, a podcast to build, and many other endeavors that I want to execute on in my life. But I don’t see writing and some of my other work, such as cooking in quite the same light. Writing is hard work, but as I’ve discussed to me the hardest work also involves physicality. So that’s why now I’m writing this #WritingWednesday post for the 10th week after a double shift, and getting up at 4:30 am and boxing with my coach to start the day. For some reason I like it when things are hard. Writing anything quality is hard enough, but I like the self-mastery and discipline it took me to sit down and write now instead of going to bed. It’s been this way for the last several entries, that’s why some of them are probably not the highest quality. But, I’m building up a consistent habit, and also learning to overcome the voice in my head that wants to quit. The fear of hard work that I have is more to do with creative projects, than cleaning a kitchen. I’m working on linking more pleasure to writing, and I get a lot of pleasure from hard work. As tough as it’s been to sit down and write 1000 words every Wednesday for the last 10 weeks, it’s only been in the last 17 days straight that I’ve really been proud of myself. Not for the writing itself — any educated editor could spot many flaws in syntax or structure or even the content itself if they wanted to. But, that same editor can’t physically out work me or spill their heart on the page as genuinely as I can after working their ass off all day. That makes me smile. When it comes to the craft of writing I have a long way to go, and will continue to practice and learn until I die. However, when it comes to the craft of hard work — I excel, yet maintain the same desire to learn, improve and grow until my death too.

I do truly feel that hard work is its own reward. Start working harder and join me in testing yourself, your attitude and your abilities. Get up earlier, be more physical, push way past when you want to say you’re “tired”. Because there’s someone out there right now outworking you, and me. Are you just going to let that go down? I’m not. I’ll go down fighting to be the hardest worker in the room, and keep moving into rooms with harder and harder workers, until I share the top with the top echelon. I’m going to use a Drake quote from 0–100/The Catch Up “If I ain’t passed you yet watch me catch up now.”