“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothin else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” — Steven Pressfield
What is art?
What has art got to do with life? With working hard?
Well, isn’t art just a way of transcribing a strong feeling? What is life but a series of feelings?
Art, life, love, war… they are all so close that sometimes they even touch, and the truth is that one doesn’t live fully until one becomes willing to get their hands dirty doing the hard work; one is most human when facing the inner resistance that begs for Netflix and chill.
Here are 9 reasons why you must fall in love with working hard.
1. Perspiration > Inspiration
In a society obsessed with instant gratification, we all want to feel like it. We want to feel inspired. We want to feel like going to the gym, like writing that blog post, like taking those photographs.
Indeed, there are a few who talk about the importance of the process and enjoying the journey not the destination, but most of us imagine that greatness is the result of a moment of inspiration. It’s not. Greatness is the by-product of thousands of hours of beating on your craft.
Greatness requires that you are sore, tired, and angry, and that you do the work anyway. It demands blisters and calluses and then more blisters.
Achieving greatness is not just uncomfortable, but also requires that you smile through all that discomfort.
2. It’s not the work, but getting started that is truly difficult.
Just start. Trick your brain to do the work for ten minutes. See what happens.
The truth is that a body in motion wants to stay in motion, while a body at rest will loathe motion.
So, instead of being frightened by the amount of work you have to do, realize you are just a verb. You are not a writer, but rather writing. You must write. You must do the work, not obsess about the end result.
3. It’s the struggle, not the victory that most pleases us.
The truth is that we must realize that the struggle is all there is. Do what is easy now, and you will suffer later. Do what is hard now, and live an easy life later.
To paraphrase the great Muhammad Ali, suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.
The struggle is inevitable, but you can choose what you want to struggle for. Why endure pain, hunger, cold? Why deprive yourself of sleep? So you can binge watch some show on Netflix? Or because you want to make your dreams come true?
Avoid hard work, and you will endure some of the worst humiliations possible.
4. Your desire for future comfort is making you unhappy.
I used to dream of a day when I didn’t have to work anymore. When I’d be rich and famous and happy…
I used to cling to any moment of comfort. Do you have enough money to buy food? Are the bills paid? Well, let’s watch movies and play games until we become tired and braindead.
The more I wanted comfort in my life, the more uncomfortable I became. The things that made me mad or sad were becoming ridiculous.
It’s just how it is.
Stop dreaming about some future day when you’ll have all you want. Such a day will never come unless you work hard to make it become a reality.
5. Being competent is the number one factor that leads to self-worth.
How do you become competent?
By doing the work.
Being competent means knowing that you can get the job done. That you show up, no matter what. It means to be free of outcome, to enjoy the process, to continually strive towards
It’s an act of profound acceptance and realism to relinquish control over outcomes — to genuinely detach our work and effort from expectations and hope. In fact, I’m not convinced it’s entirely possible.
Still, a worthy cause to strive towards bettering yourself.
This is the best way to become self-confident. You and you alone can decide to do the hard work, even when no one asks it of you, when no one is watching, when no one could possibly expect you to. This, in turn, ensures that you are fueled from within, self-reliant, capable of getting the job done.
6. Hard work saves you from boredom, fear, and poverty
Whenever I want something and can’t have it, I say this word. I need to work more. I need to learn more. I need to study more. I need to build more relationships with people. I need to become more, to give more, to sell more, to invest more…
Because the alternative is boredom, apathy, this bizarre lethargy that makes you feel as if you are but a puppet on strings.
7. Hard work is the only way to find freedom.
Self-mastery, the byproduct of discipline, is the freedom to pursue what is truly meaningful for you.
You cannot conquer the world if you cannot conquer yourself. And to do that you must be willing to do what is hard. To take the difficult decisions, to ask the tough questions, to speak the truth even if your voice shakes…
Think of that next time you want to mindlessly browse YouTube instead of going to the gym.
8. Passion means to suffer.
We think of passion as the kind of thing that we are born with. That we are born writers, actors, painters. That we have the innate ability but also the love for the process. It’s a lie.
The more you work on something, the more you love it.
Believe me. I used to weigh 121 pounds at a height of 5 feet and 9 inches. I did not enjoy working out. I’ve always thought of myself as an intellectual. Also, I’ve always thought of myself as weak. I was skinny, that was who I was.
Obviously, I hated working out. I hated what I saw in the mirror, so there was no way to go to the gym without feeling inadequate. So, I worked out at home. Slowly. Took years. I’d work out for a few months, then quit, then try again.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve been working out every single day.
Every. Single. Day.
I used to hate running on a treadmill. One day, I found myself smiling while running. I felt like I could run forever. I found myself enjoying the process so, so much.
Every. Single. Day.
9. If life is a war, then you must become a warrior.
Emotional immunity is developed by doing what most people don’t want to do. Over and over again. Even when you don’t want to.
Life has to tolerance for any other kind of behavior. This is the number one reason for mental health issues, obesity, low self-esteem…
You must be willing to sacrifice everything you have for the habit, for what you know is the right way.
Whenever you feel like blaming others for your circumstances, ask yourself how much did you sacrifice for your work? And be honest. Think of all the moments of doubt, procrastination, binge watching, giving up on your diet, workout, or pretending to do the work while scrolling through social media…
I know it’s not a romantic idea, but in order to achieve our dreams we must pursue them mercilessly. We must show up and do the work, day-in and day-out.
In order to get what we want out of life, we must put in the hours, the reps, be more than glad to get dirty and bruised along the way.
To have any hope of realizing our dreams, we must be willing to fight for them.