I read a thing this week that really struck me. It’s from a CEO and founder of a few websites. And he wrote:
At the end of each day, I’m frickin tired. But like that buff dude in the gym, I’m stoked on the weight I lifted that day. I don’t see the tired when I’m looking in the mirror, I’m looking at my life’s muscles and I’m thinking, damn I look good.
Tired isn’t weak. Tired is hardworking. Tired are the champions because we worked our asses off to win.
This is a nice argument. It’s an argument I used to make myself, in fact. If you’re doing work you care about, and you’re doing it to the point of physical exhaustion, well, that seems like a good thing.
But the thing is, it isn’t true.
Some people have to work ridiculous hours to do the work they need to do. Some people can do their work in relatively few hours.
The hours themselves, though, are irrelevant. There is no special bonus that one gets for working 17-hour days. There is no penalty for working 4-hour days.
The hours don’t matter — only the fact that you put in the time to do the work.
But this idea that there’s glory in working absurdly long days? No, there’s no glory in that. And there’s no shame in being able to do your work in a few hours a day.
Again: All that matters is the work that comes out.
Work ethic is about what you get done in those hours, not the number of hours you accumulate. Sometimes, you just have to work your ass off and work yourself into the ground to understand that.
That clock photo comes via.