I’ve always been of the opinion that it takes something special to be really good at what you do. I’m talking expert level, like to be at the top of your field. While talent is important and I acknowledge that some things come easy to the naturally gifted, this isn’t what usually separates the greats from all the rest. To me, it is the ability to habitually work hard at your craft that takes you to that next level. Of course, this idea is nothing new. I’m sure you’ve heard the famous quote by Aristotle “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The point is, hard work is a choice. It is something you can control. That’s the good news. However, if you’re anything like me, making choices wears you out. It is easy for me to work hard when I am motivated or in a good mood. It’s on those bad days that deciding to put in the work becomes more difficult. I’ve adopted a new life motto to help with this problem. I call it “easy mode.” Allow me to explain.
Easy mode deals with the way you approach those decisions about how hard you work. When I’m in easy mode, it’s easy to make the hard decisions because the choice has already been made. What I mean is if you decide ahead of time that you are always going to choose the hard work option over being lazy, you have taken the decision making part out of the equation (well, you only had to make one decision as opposed to deciding every time). When you expect and plan to work extra hard, working hard becomes the norm, and therefore, easy.
I’ve been trying my best to apply this to my job, and I still have a way to go, but so far it’s worked out well. For example, when someone asks me to help with something, I just help them. There’s no thinking about it, or hesitating, or trying to make an excuse about why it’s not my responsibility. This has actually made my job easier despite the fact that I am doing more work. Things get done more efficiently, and I have peace of mind. When in easy mode, you are happy to work hard because you are going with the flow and you become super productive.
It should be noted that being in easy mode doesn’t mean the actual work becomes easy. The work is still hard, that’s why it’s called hard work. And this is how you will get better at whatever it is you do. I hope you’ve noticed, I am being vague on purpose. This is because easy mode can be applied to a multitude of situations, such as your job, relationships, athletics, or even cleaning your house. When you’ve decided to always try and do what’s best, you automatically become better.
I’m not going to lie, living in easy mode isn’t always easy. I still decide to be lazy at times, probably more often than I’m willing to admit. But hey, at least I’m trying. Now it’s your turn.