Just Work Harder
And other lies we believe about work.
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"Just work harder."
For so long, those of us in the U.S. have been taught this is the answer to all our problems.
Not making enough?
Just work harder and earn more.
Don't like your job?
Just work harder to earn a new position.
Don't have enough to pay rent?
Working harder worked when we leveraged physical activity for money:
Show up in the office and punch a clock, you get paid.
Show up to the factory and push a button or pull a lever, you get paid.
Show up to work and dig a ditch, you get paid.
Show up work and make 100 phone calls, you get paid.
But "working harder" doesn't work anymore.
Clock in. Use Company equipment that only the Company can afford. Clock out. Go home. Go to bed. Wake up. Do it all over again.
Most of us don't work this way anymore. Most of us leverage the knowledge in our heads to do our work. In that sense, we “own” the Company equipment and lease it out to our employers (or ourselves).
"Just work harder" is dying a slow death because it's comfortable.
Easy to understand.
Spend more time in your seat.
Make more widgets.
Push more buttons.
Make more calls.
Pull more levers.
But you can work ceaselessly and still not have enough money to pay your rent.
What's required now is a complete rethinking of how and when and why we work. It's about finding the right things to do, in the right quantities, for the right people, at the right time.
Sahil Bloom calls this operating in your “Zone of Genius” (it’s also where the image at the top of this post comes from).
It's complex and scary and FASCINATING, all at the same time.
(For instance, what happens when technology reduces the cost of all our basic living expenses to near free?—as macroeconomist Raoul Pal suggests will happen in the next 20-30 years [1:59:59 mark].)
It requires a massive amount of personal responsibility to take charge of one's own career. Some will rise to the occasion and chart a path for themselves that didn't exist 50, 25, or even 5 years ago.
Some will leverage what's in their mind through code or content.
Some will literally change the world by doing in minutes what used to take 10 lifetimes to complete.
But most will opt to "just work harder."