It’s easy to be proud of your long work hours. It’s easy to brag about the nights you work, about the challenges you’ve overcome, about your incredibly adaptability.
But what you secretly don’t want anyone to know is just how lazy your hard work is. You’ve become so convinced that your hard work is a sign of virtue you even hide this laziness from yourself.
It’s a tricky thing, after all, because what you’ve achieved or are trying to achieve is amazing. It’s something you should be proud of.
A farmer who’s proud of wearing out a plow horse is clearly a fool; yet so often we pride ourselves on how we wear ourselves out. So much so that we wear others out in the process. And so we go out and hire someone new, find someone else to burn through.
The difficult truth to face is this: if we were really putting in the effort in the hardest places—inside our own subtly closed hearts, in our lazy leadership, in our overworking to make up for our lack of clarity in our vision, in our less-than-stellar understanding of ourselves and those we long to serve—we wouldn’t have to work so hard. And we wouldn’t have to demand more than what’s sane, fair, and compassionate from others.
And so our pride in our hard work and drive goeth before a fall—the storm of burnout and deep dissatisfaction at even our own laudable achievements.
But it’s not too late to do the hard work of working less hard.
And there’s a future version of you sitting on a beach somewhere that will thank you for it.