Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.
- Caterina Fake
(via startup quote and michael’s post about the ‘power of time off‘)
Couldn’t agree more, but how do you know what the right thing is.
You know when you are finished.
you know when you’re not going through life hating yourself and everything you see. even a little bit. work, work, there are moments of total despair, disgust, hatred, condescension, intolerance. there are moments of joy, discovery, satisfaction, enlightenment. optimize for the positive. keep changing variables to see what makes things beautiful. it’s not the same as optimizing for easy, unless you have no ambition :)
It’s the right thing if you enjoy doing it even with a headache.
if you’re working hard on the right thing, you get results. It’s too bad peope do neither well.
It is hard to know the right thing. The right thing takes time and commitment to know (just like everything else takes time and commitment). But the time and commitment spent on knowing the right thing is more important than the same spent on the day to day. However, minimizing the day to day for some far off fantasy – not that it isn’t worth the pursuit- is a real challenge (it’s really hard).
Therein lies the rub
I have never found the right thing. I work hard for less and less, all while getting assaulted with Wangston’s “moments of total despair, disgust, hatred, condescension, intolerance.” The last time I had a moment of joy was about 25 years ago.
The right thing is what your mind/body tell you is the right thing. Though this is not exactly easy.
Imagine clearing your mind while meditating and then subconsciously asking yourself what is the one thing I should be working on. That answer, is the right thing.
In more concrete terms, I believe the book by David Allen, Getting Things Done, presents a systematic approach for clearing your mind. Its an organizational management system that clears your mind from having to remember everything you have to do (which just causes you to fret more) and in that space, allows your mind to work more creatively (just as it would do if you would stop fretting).
Its changed my life… hope it helps
The right thing means that it can fulfill the right purpose.
There are no right thing to do, but if your know your purpose, *everything* you do will draws you closer to your goal. I mean *everything*, even for things less enjoyable.
Stop looking for the right thing, and start looking for the right mind and attitude.
I think… To find out what is right, you need to work hard…
@Baris: Working hard and working smart are not the same things. I know many people who worked hard their whole life who didn’t gain as much success as they should’ve/could’ve.
@Shaheen sure you’re right. and nothing can help you if you are not smart…
here we talk on a situation which, one knows his target. to achieve his aim, one has to work hard on the subject then he gains the ability of recognizing what is wrong or right.
@Baris: Yea but even smart people work hard to avoid working smart.
Consider an entrepreneur who needs to analyze their financial statements but instead works on something else, because they are essentially scared to face the ugly truth. They could be working hard on something else, but not necessarily working smart.
Another thing I witness often is someone working hard on a lot of tasks/projects they know well, but they don’t work on the project that goes outside their comfort zone. Heres another example of someone who can be working hard but not smart.
There are many instances of people working hard to avoid working on something potentially more important.
Also it goes without saying, but you can work smart and not have to work hard.
So, how can you describe what is SMART and what is not? How did you get that ability of recognizing what is smart or not?
Of course, working on the right thing (working smart) is very very important as foretold and you told. I exactly agree with you both..
But I wonder, how can you be sure if you are working on the right thing or not??
@Baris: I think thats the million dollar question. And truthfully I can’t say I definitively know.
I’ve modeled my system over the last 5 years based on David Allen’s GTD methodology. Essentially, GTD is a systematic approach to capture process tasks to clear you mind and ultimately get things done (thus GTD).
I believe the key is to have a clear mind. Once your mind is clear, your mind will disengage from low-level tasks / reminders and move up to intuitive choices about your options. Thats important… read that sentence again.
Take a tip from a random friend on the internet. BitTorrent David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done Fast’ seminar and listen to it. I read an article on MacDevCenter.com in Mar-2005 about GTD (link), and it changed my life. Probably one of the luckiest things thats happened to me was to read that article.
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