Monday, August 1, 2011

Thought - Why Hard Work is Hard

Most things are simply not done because they are considered 'hard work'. But what is hard work? And why is it hard? And why does this hard work become enjoyable to some? What are the easy things? Why are they easy? And why is easy work looked down upon by some?

I think 'hard work' is the first state of non-acceptance of an idea, mostly an idea that needs clarity in the mind. Mathematics is hard work, finance is hard work, meeting strangers is hard work, writing a new report is hard work, starting a company is hard work, writing or composing something original is hard work, doing the bungee jump is hard work, grinding out a hundred is hard work and so on. The first thought is this - 'Man, I have to figure this out in my mind first!' That is the 'hard' part of it. Once you figure it out in the mind, one way or another, partly or fully, the rest of the work is pretty easy. One actually says, hey, its easy, I can tell you how to do it. Once you are in that space, the hours melt. It is not 'hard work' anymore. What looked like hard work earlier, when minutes appeared like hours, quickly transforms into 'interesting' work and the long hours are actually fun or 'enjoyable' as the champions say. Maybe the next time we think something is 'hard' we probably need to hold our freely wagging tongues, look at the issue carefully and try and figure it out in the mind.

And then there are easy things. Lying down, sleeping, browsing the net, playing games, watching movies, reading books, meeting friends. Most of these things are easy because in our mind there is no 'new' idea to the 'act' generally. You are in a known, secure space, with something you can choose to do or not at any given point of time - within your comfort zone so to speak. (Some books and movies that come with new ideas, new languages, even some friends with new ideas, can give you a headache, putting them in the difficult or hard work category). Nothing new here, all options lie with you, you are safe in your little world with a 'Don't Disturb' sign on it.

The reason why 'easy' is looked down by some is that it is mostly not conducive to growth (unless the person is independently exploring 'new' ideas). 'Hard' exposes you to 'new' ideas and makes you far more flexible, enhances confidence of having done the 'hard' things, enables constant growth and gives a balanced world view.

Hard work then is not so much in the work as in the non-acceptance of the idea. (At least not hard work as we know it, I am not talking of pounding rock 12 hours a day, so all those who are ready to pounce on me with that, back off! Even there, people figure out ways to be more efficient after realizing there is no way out!) Once you accept the idea, the work by itself, becomes easier and enjoyable. So engineers can understand commerce and finance, technical people can understand legal documents, artists can understand balance sheets, construction workers can do the ballet - it's just a mindset! Until you accept the idea, everything in the world is 'hard work'. And going by that principle, the more 'hard' work you do, the more ideas you are figuring out, and the more flexible and open your mind is to create!


Shobha Nargundkar said...

beautifully articulated! I can identify with this. Whenever, I am not comfortable with the idea of doing something, its 'hard work' or hard to do...

Anonymous said...

Simple if its hard and you don't like it, just don't do it.

If the consequences of not doing the hard work are much worse than the doing the "hard" work, think about it while doing the hard work and it'll become easier.

Can't believe I just wrote that. Hari I need to quit reading your articles, they making me think.
But morning coffee and your blog has become a habit of mine.

Harimohan said...


Harimohan said...

The way you put it made me think too!
It was 'hard' initially but then I thought of the consequences of not doing it, and then it became easier!

Shobha Nargundkar said...

You guys make it easier! You're so funny!