Then I reflected on it a bit more ... working smart is important but so is working hard. The analogy that springs to mind is an Olympic athlete. To achieve a world class level of competitiveness an athlete has to work both hard and smart. The athlete has to work hard in the sense that “no pain no gain”. I used to lift weights on a daily basis and the tactical measure of success was feeling the pain of a good work out. The pain meant that the muscle tissues were broken down and would rebuild and become stronger. Building a business is a lot like that and there is defiantly some heavy lifting required and some sacrifices to be made. Back to the Olympic athlete ... Becoming world class athlete also means being smart about how you train. Elite athletes have to be smart about how they eat, manage their time and condition their mind. There is much more emphasis today on sports psychology than a decade or two ago. I chatted with a friend that is a coach and had trained an Olympic athlete to visualize their run before the event ... the athlete one the first ever gold medal for Canada at home. Elevating your game means working both hard and smart the two are closely intertwined.
A sphere is definitely a superior shape for moving the ball forward on a plain. What if the terrain changes to a steep hill either up or down? Then managing the sphere may actually be more effort than the cube with no opportunity to pause and rest. There is a lesson here but I am not certain what it is.
Working hard and working smart are not mutually exclusive and IMHO both are essential for starting a business. An important consideration to remember is that working hard does not equate to working smart and lots of activity isn’t necessarily progress. When you are feeling busy but don’t seem to be making progress that may be an indicator to pause, reflect and work smart not hard.
Thank you to Elias for the inspiration.
- Ian Graham