Can you do in 20 hours what you do at 40 hours a week?
The capitalist logic that working longer hours equals greater rewards continues to haunt the modern worker. In our daily grind, many have had to sacrifice precious time – for family and friends, and other equally meaningful life projects – just to get a chance at financial freedom later in life. But is working hard really the only way to live “the good life”?
“The bad news is, it’s not true – but also the good news is, it’s not true,” said Steve Cook, entrepreneur and author of Lifeonaire: An Uncommon Approach to Wealth, Success, and Prosperity.
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“A few years after I started my business, I started seeing quite a bit of rewards coming in,” Cook said. “That’s when I started questioning why I was working so hard. I wanted to slow down, but I had fears. I was scared I wouldn’t make as much.”
The author shared three “lies” about hard work that people end up believing throughout their career. Myths keep modern workers from realising their own dreams.
Myth #1: Working hard means working A LOT. “Cut down the hours you work, but make sure every hour counts,” Cook advised. “I find that most entrepreneurs are at their highest efficiency if they work four hours a day, give or take an hour. Beyond that, their productivity diminishes substantially.”
Myth #2: If you work hard now, you’ll have a great life in the future. It’s good to want to build a stellar career, but don’t forget to enjoy life in the present either.
“When you are busy living a life trying to keep up with the Joneses, you’ll have to work so much to make ends meet that you may miss your kids’ formative years,” Cook said. “That’s time you can never get back. It’s far better to keep your needs low. Without a huge mortgage, extravagant vacations, and two car payments, you can live on less and spend quality time with your children now when they need you the most.”
Myth #3: Not working much is the same as being lazy. People who succeed at cutting down their work hours may sometimes feel they aren’t doing enough. “They used to work 50-plus hours per week and now they are working only 20 – and by the way, they’re usually making more. Only now, they feel lazy,” Cook shared. His advice is to find new pursuits, hobbies and causes that make them feel engaged and empowered.
“I’m 100% for hard work,” he said. “But instead of working constantly, I work less. And I give it my all in the short period of time that I do work. That short time of efficient work produces much more than most people do in their overdrive 60-hour work weeks. If you are giving your all during the short period of time that you work, you will see a massive shift in your productivity.”