The Myth of Working Hard

The most memorable scene from the movie Sugar is when the struggling, injured pitcher gets called into the manager’s office for his poor performance.

“You just keep working hard…”

“I DO work hard! I work hard every day.”
“Well work harder goddamnit!”
There’s this idea out there that if you work hard you’ll get everything you want. 
And if you don’t have what you want, it’s because you haven’t worked hard enough to get it.
But this is far from the whole story.
Timing, opportunity, and circumstance all have more than a little to do with how far our hard work gets us.
photo credit: linkedin.com
Competitive people like to work hard.  They take great pride in their efforts.  When they win, they credit the time they spent training.  When they lose, they find joy in realizing there’s more work left to do.  
Getting better at their chosen craft makes for built-in goals.  They train for the season, and when it is over, they train for next season.  Ambitions and action plans are set.
There is an incredible amount of comfort in never wondering WHAT to do.  There’s tremendous fun tinkering with the HOW.  As long as there is MORE, the goal remains the goal.
But somewhere along the line, you ask yourself WHY.  My moment came when sitting on a rugby pitch in the middle of Treasure Island.  We were on a short break from our ‘elite’ territorial camp, and I sat amidst the goose shit by myself, wondering why the hell I was there.  I didn’t like the players.  I didn’t like the coaches.  I barely liked the game anymore.
I wrote ‘worth it all’ on my fingers that last and final season.  A reminder of the lie made it momentarily feel real.
photo credit: mbergt.com
“The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.  One must imagine [the worker] happy.” (Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus)
I imagine them terrified to become useless or less-than.  
Being eager to work is a blessing.  Being stuck doing work is a curse.
  

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