Working Too Hard? 3 Reasons Results Don’t Always Follow Effort

If you feel like you’re working too hard, “work smart, not hard” is garbage advice. Listen to Tony Robbins instead.

working too hard

Tony Robbins says:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in ten.”

Robbins went from being a broke janitor to a millionaire in 10 years. He knows what he’s talking about.

But what does he really mean?

And what stops so many of us mere mortals from replicating these kind of results?

I believe that the crux of it is this:

  1. You can achieve almost any goal with consistent, focused, deliberate effort.
  2. All it takes to sabotage that goal is to try to do too much, too fast.

The result is that you feel like you’re working too hard, without the results to show for it.

Let’s take a deeper look.

1. Consistency

If you write 323 words per day, you will write 10,000 words per month and 120,000 words per year.

That’s two books. Or 240 blog posts. Or, or, or.

If you sustained that effort for 10 years, where would you be?

More to the point, is there anywhere you couldn’t be, with that kind of production?

Too often we fall into the trap of thinking we have to do something “hard”.

The truth is that the consistency itself is much harder than the actual work.

For one, it’s easy to berate yourself for setting an “easy” goal, like 323 words per day. A voice in your head might suggest that such a “low” goal is amateurish.

And two, consistency, as a strategy, takes a really long time to pan out. It’s nicer to think that there’s a faster strategy available and you just haven’t found it yet, and to stop what you’re doing.

Prolific production doesn’t require pain; it requires consistency.

2. Focus

The other problem is that we want too much at once:

  • Write professionally AND grow your own vegetables
  • Build your side hustle AND coach your kid’s soccer team
  • Grow your business AND compete in triathlons

But it’s even more nuanced than that.

You can have too many writing goals and still water down your effort so much that it doesn’t add up to anything.

The important question to ask is:

How focused do you need to be to reach a tipping point?

“Can I handle two major projects? One and a half? What if I do marathons instead of triathlons? What if I take the assistant coach role instead of head coach? Will that focus my effort enough?”

The answer is: It’s hard to say.

All we know for sure is that we give ourselves a better shot at success when we focus.

If you’re serious about attaining any goal, it’s worth taking a look at how you’re currently diluting your efforts.

3. Deliberate effort

The most popular concept surrounding deliberate effort is the so-called “ten-thousand hour rule”:

“You can master any craft in 10,000 hours, but ONLY if you practice deliberately.”

(Deliberate practice means using devices like intention, feedback and reflection along the way to constantly improve.)

We know this, but we’re sneaky.

We don’t like to change.

And we like grooves. Deep ones.

So it’s worth asking:

What groove are you in now? How could you make yourself a little less comfortable in order to improve faster?


Remember: Success doesn’t require pain. All it takes is consistency, focus and deliberate effort.

But it takes all three.

P.S. Want to be more consistent and block out distractions? Try Focusmate.

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