When I was younger a common saying was to give 110%, work hard, out work everyone, blah blah blah. The messages said to us repeatedly create a worldview that we decide is fact. But it’s not fact; it’s just one way of thinking. There are many ways to look at something. I propose that we should all pay attention to what worldview and/or mantras that work for us.

I gave 110% for years and was miserable and had no success to show from it. I now never think the words “work harder”, but yet I’ve achieved much more satisfaction and progress.

If the work harder type mantras work for you, then bask in their transformative energy, but if the mantras taught to you don’t seem to align with your energy, just pick another worldview.

My point here isn’t to say one worldview is better than the other, but to allow you to explore other views without feeling guilty.

One of the reasons I don’t push any “worker hard” or  “give 110%” type mantras is because those mantras are vague and people from different socioeconomic levels have different versions of what hard work is.

From my experience, people in lower socioeconomic situations work much harder. Their idea of working hard or giving 110% is working multiple jobs. Working a nightshift at FedEx, then coming to their food service job during the day. Having limited breaks and exhausting their body. White-collar workers have another idea of hard work.

White collar workers’ idea of working hard is working a 9 hr day in the office, getting bathroom breaks whenever they want, being on many calls but also enjoying some conversations with coworkers throughout the day. Maybe they’ll take their laptop home and work on some charts in their nice house while their kids play.

White-collar type workers typically think they work hard, but don’t realize they still have a balanced life. They still get decent sleep at night; they still can take bathroom breaks when they need to. They’re still able to fall asleep with their partner. They don’t have the stress of worrying about how they’ll pay for their own maternity leave or what they’ll do if they get sick.

My point isn’t to argue who works harder or to say white collar workers don’t need to rest. My point is to illustrate how mantras get out of hand because they assume everyone needs the same thing.

My suggestion is to get to the root of what the “work harder” mantras were intending; “working harder” is intended to improve your quality of life. Start there. What do you need to improve your quality of life? Get specific. It will probably vary for all of us.


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