“What if grinding is bad?”

A coach asked me this question in my late 20s. It was mind-blowing. At the time, I’d already read Trying Not to Try, and I was still soaking things in and slowly shifting my worldview. This question really accelerated the process. Some questions that counter-grinding question provoked:

  • Wasn’t everything supposed to be a grind?
  • If I loved what I did, and finance people don’t love what they do, shouldn’t I be working at least as hard as them?
  • Doesn’t hard work pay off? 

There’s a saying that good things don’t come easy. That’s really not the case for successful people though.

In his latest piece at Every, Michael Ashcroft writes of the importance of clarity in perception, progression, and intention. He also closes with the call to resolve conflicting goals.

Another way to say that might just be to simply accept the tradeoffs that you’re living with, and not to compare yourself against other people.

It’s reminiscent of a piece from Marshall Goldsmith in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There:

As you go through life, contemplating the mechanics of success and wondering why some people are successful and others are not, you’ll find that this is one of the defining traits of habitual winners: They stack the deck in their favor. And they’re unabashed about it. 

They do this when they hire the best candidates for a job rather than settle for an almost-the-best type.

They do this when they pay whatever it takes to retain a valuable employee rather than lose him or her to the competition. 

They do this when they’re fully prepared for a negotiation rather than winging it. 

If you study successful people, you’ll discover that their stories are not so much about overcoming enormous obstacles and handicaps but rather about avoiding high-risk, low-reward situations and doing everything in their power to increase the odds in their favor.

Happy stacking!

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