Career Hack: STOP Working Hard! Start Doing THIS Instead

All of our life we are told to WORK HARD. In America, part of the collective narrative is if we work hard good things will happen for us. Well, what happens when hard work is not enough?

The world is littered with the broken dreams of ambitious people who worked hard and never achieved their goals.

While hard work has its place in the world, I believe it has been misplaced in our psyche as a fix for our careers and lives. If you were to look up the synonyms of hard work, you will find words like: toil, endure, chafe, torture, suffer and tolerate. None of those words allude to a payoff or an increase in productivity, which at the end of the day is the point of working hard.

Hard work is also mistakenly associated with the amount of hours worked, but in reality that can make us seem more masochistic than successful. In fact, studies have shown that working too hard can be detrimental to one’s career in many ways. On the flip side, additional studies have shown that expert level performance is a product of efficient and deliberate practice. And while it is easy to confuse practice and hard work, practice is the action of understanding a subject and refining performance. Hard work is mindless toil.

Instead, become a person who values practice by learning to –


  • Be strategic by gaining experience through volunteering.

  • Create relationships with individuals who have superior knowledge in order to further understand your field.

  • Work in an area that will expose your weaknesses, and then eliminate your weaknesses through partnerships and education.

  • Stop being a workhorse that brags about working 70 hours a week, and get more done in less time.

  • Start doing something that makes impact.

And that my friends is the CAREER HACK: in a world that is filled with those who mindlessly work hard, commit to the journey of learning deliberate practice.


About the Author

Philip A. Cunningham, MBA is a self-proclaimed business nerd and career strategist. Throughout his career he has helped start companies, bring ideas to life, and launch new initiatives. Today, he acts as a bridge between potential and opportunity. He considers his greatest strength to be the ability to bring out the best in others; his weakness… peanut butter cookies.

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