Main Piece: “Work smarter, not harder”

Background: The informant is devoted to his career. He has always had an entrepreneurial mindset and loves to succeed. Throughout his life, he has jumped on every career opportunity and worked as hard as necessary to feel fulfilled. That being said, in retrospect, he wishes that he had taken an alternative route to success. He assumed that the only way to reach his goals was to be the hardest worker in the room, but he sees now that there is a difference between working hard and working smart. 


“I wish my dad had explained to me: Work smarter, not harder. That’s why I’m telling you this, once again, to really ingrain it in your mind. It’s something my father didn’t teach me, so I am gonna make sure you know it. There is no substitution for being a hard worker. Don’t get me wrong… drive, work ethic, commitment, you need those traits to get to the level of success I know you want. But, you also need to be efficient. Don’t waste energy. Optimize energy. Take the allocated time and make the most of it because you chose to work smart. It’s all about strategy. It is pointless to kill yourself over endless hours and sleepless nights. Just because you are torturing yourself through exhaustion doesn’t mean you are better than the next guy. It just means you aren’t being thoughtful. Every move you make as a professional should be purposeful and worthwhile, not done just for the sake of putting in the effort. We know you can work your ass off. You’ve done that throughout your entire academic career, and there is no one better at putting her head down and grinding. But, you need to show me- show yourself- that you can work intelligently. When you can do that, you can reach your goals, and take some time to enjoy that success. It’s a fault that I should have corrected long ago… I need to learn to relax and this is a way to get there.”  

Thoughts: This proverb from my dad is one that has really shifted the way I do work. He has given me this short lecture on the saying too many times to count because he believes in its power so passionately. The proverb is simple and short but definitely impacts the decisions I make on a daily basis. It is a phrase that I will share with my children, especially because my dad has put such emphasis on the fact that he wished he had known from his father that there is more than one route to success.