It seems lately that I keep hearing over and over that it takes hard work in order to accomplish anything significant—persistence, patience, and of course, lots of hard work.
“If you want to accomplish your dreams, it is going to take hard work.”
“If you want to build a successful business, it takes hard work.”
“If you have a goal you want to accomplish, it takes hard work.”
“Success can only happen through persistent and dedicated hard work.”
Although I get the premise behind this advice – wrought with good intentions and meant to head us in the direction of success – I am becoming increasingly troubled by how much it permeates through our lives.
Is it really true that in order to succeed, we have to work hard, make sacrifices, and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps?
The Myth of Hard Work
When I was young, I remember my father telling me that “nothing worth having is easy to get.” These words were very inspiring to me. Especially coming from someone I admired so much. So I fully embraced those words and lived by them for most of my life.
Later, when I began my counseling practice, I proudly repeated those wise old words of my father many, many times—unknowingly perpetuating what I now call the myth of hard work.
I used the words of my father to encourage and inspire those who sought my guidance.
I thought I could help bring them comfort in the notion that hard work is beneficial. Keep trying, and eventually, your hard work will pay off. Even though they had a long, hard road of work ahead of them, it would most certainly be worth it. All they had to do was put in the necessary hard work.
Today that is one of my biggest regrets. I wish I had never said those words to anyone.
In my own life, as I lived by the motto that nothing worth having is easy to get, I accomplished a few goals. Some of them quite big, like raising my son and finishing graduate school. Even though I would accomplish a milestone here and there, it was never enough to make me feel like I was accomplishing much of anything overall. So I continued to keep on keeping on. I continued to try to work as hard as I could to accomplish more and reach that elusive pillar of success.
Yet, in the end, I always felt like I was not good enough. I couldn’t do it well enough. I wasn’t consistent enough. I let myself slack and didn’t work hard enough.
But I was tired and worn out from working so hard. It felt as if all I was able to accomplish was appearing like a failure to the rest of the world. Living like this gave depression a very powerful hold over me.
Want to know how the angels helped me finally overcome my depression? Read: Life with Angels 1: Inviting Angels Into Your Life.
The Effects of the Hard Work Myth. Can you relate?
The harder I worked, the more I felt like I was failing.
My clients experienced the same thing. I was constantly reminding them and myself to look at how far they had come -at how their strength was something to be celebrated.
I told them that, even if they felt exhausted, they were certainly capable of putting in more hard work to reach their final goals.
We just had to get through that final stretch. “Nothing worth having is easy to get.” We just need to keep working at it.
There was a lot of hard work going on. Yet no matter what we were able to accomplish – we were either too tired to enjoy it, it was not where we wanted to be, or we just resigned ourselves to giving up and finding a new goal. “Maybe with this new goal, all the hard work might actually pay off.”
The Hard Work Myth is a Lie
This simply is just no way to live. Nor is it the way to accomplish a goal. Or to achieve a dream.
Yes, by working hard, you can accomplish many things. You can spend your life setting goals and working your ass off to accomplish them, and many times you will. I am not saying that hard work is a waste of time.
What I am saying is that living a life with the notion that you will never have what you want if you do not work hard is a lie.
Yes. A lie.
The hard work myth is just that: a myth.
The River of Truth vs. The Hard Work Myth
What if the reason hard work seems necessary is because we are working against the natural flow? What if life is like swimming in a river? The river is our life, and swimming is the action we take to go where we want; to get to our goals.
Swimming upstream against the current is hard work. Struggling and fighting to reach the end goal or destination is working very hard.
But what would happen if we chose to stop fighting and just let go? What if we let go of the need to be in control, relax, and just float effortlessly down the river with the current?
What if the current of life is going the way it is for a reason?
What if all of our hard work and dedication fighting against the current is actually working against the purpose of our life?
What if that is why we have such a hard time getting where we want to be and never really seem to get there?
What would you think if I told you the secret to success and happiness is to stop trying so hard? To let go of thinking you know what your future holds and to just relax? To have faith and trust in yourself and your purpose?
Whether you believe it or not, your life has a purpose – there is a reason for you – a reason you exist on this physical planet. If you find yourself caught up in the struggle, experiencing anxiety, depression, a lack of self-worth, or feeling like a failure, it is likely you are working against your own purpose. Like so many others, you have fallen victim to the myth of hard work.
Life, your physical existence on this planet, is not meant to be full of pain and struggle. The miracle of life and your existence is meant to enjoy and experience with ease so you can accomplish your purpose and make the world a better place.
How much more can you accomplish when feeling good, confident, and strong versus worn out, beat down, and uncertain?
Letting Go of the Hard Work Myth – It Really Works
I know this from my own experience and from seeing the change in my clients. By letting go of the need to work as hard as possible and be in constant control of every moment and everything that happens in your life, you will find life is pretty easy.
Accomplishing your goals, manifesting with the Law of Attraction, and ending depression and anxiety all can come by learning to relax and take the easy road. Or river, as the case may be. (;
This does not mean we stop trying and take no action at all.
Taking action toward our goals is certainly necessary and important. However, it does mean you have to stop telling yourself that hard work is the answer to your success and stop trying and expecting everything to be difficult.
In fact, if something feels like too much of a struggle, it is a good indication you are not going about it the right way.
Just because we have been told our entire life that we have to work hard, be humble, and without pain, there will be no gain does not make it true.
We must learn to question such notions and work toward something different. It is then, and only then we can break the cycle and find success and happiness.
A Challenge, Not a Struggle
A challenge takes effort, action, and stepping out of your comfort zone. A struggle implies hardship, work, and difficulty.
A challenge can be fun to attempt. They test your abilities. Challenges encourage you to try something new. To reach beyond what you already know you are capable of doing.
Struggle, on the other hand, is doing whatever it takes to end the pain so you can move on to something else.
So, today, I challenge you.
I challenge you to let go of the struggle.
Try it for a week, a day, or even just for the next hour.
Let go of the pain, of the failure, of the fight. Rather than forging ahead and tackling the hard work that lies between you and your goals, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and listen to your inner guidance. Listen for angels, your higher power, or your intuition.
Through prayer, meditation, or sitting quietly with the intention to receive guidance, think about what your goal is and then simply quiet your mind and just listen. You may hear a voice, or you may have a thought or a feeling that feels good to you. Listen to these parts of yourself and allow them to guide you and lead you toward doing something different.
Follow whatever guidance you receive freely. Hold the expectation that what you seek will happen. By doing so, you will see that even what was once hard – will soon come with ease.
If you can keep doing this, life becomes much easier and more pleasant. Good luck will become the norm for you, and your goals will come more easily than you may have ever dreamed. Most importantly, it will finally free you up to experience the joy of being you and living life according to your purpose.
Let go of the hard work myth and start living your life.
As always, be sure to ask your questions and share your experiences and opinions in the comment section below. It is by working together and connecting with each other that we find the most success and happiness in life. Pass it on. <3
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