How to hustle in a disciplined manner. Learn how to sensibly work hard and do more.


Hard work is an action everyone strives for. It portrays someone as having a good work ethic, is disciplined and wants to achieve great things. But is hard work consistent throughout your life? Do the levels of work change as you grow older? This transcript gives a detailed explanation on the nuances of hard work throughout one’s lifespan. 

How to work harder and smarter

We’ve seen prodigies who are gifted in a particular field of work. Natural talent gives people a large boost in their line of work but it is not a guarantee of one’s success. Hard work is the other piece of the puzzle which can make someone’s talent exponential. 

It is rare to see someone with exceptional talent and a drive for work. Usually a person possesses one or the other, most of the time the latter. Gifted people with an aptitude for a certain work will find it easier to excel in said line of work than someone who gets there through pure hard work but that should not deter you from doing what you like. Hard work comes from self discipline and management. Doing things according to your established schedule while being consistent in your productivity and output is the traditional make up of hard work. Effort however, can sometimes be superficial. You need to discover why you’re working as hard as you are. There must be a goal you’ve set for yourself. If you’re working hard towards an objective you don’t seem as worthwhile then maybe it’s time to reconsider your priorities.

Finding your upper limit for work is important in ensuring you don’t burn out. This can be found out by crossing your limits. Developing productivity awareness can significantly help you realise whether the quality of work is suffering or not. 


Hard work is a means towards an end. It is a challenging task which requires heavy discipline and commitment. Recognising your own aptitude and finding work which you enjoy isn’t as easy as some people make it seem. People can go decades without finding their hobbies and interests. Being authentic and driven is a trait which few people possess but can help you accomplish great things if you keep it consistent. Being cautious to not burn out and compromise one’s mental health is a key factor which can affect productivity. Working hard but also taking time for yourself in a proper balance is the way to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

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There may not appear to be much to be learned from working hard. Even those who opted not to attend school are aware of what it involves. Some 12-year-olds work really hard. The answer is unquestionably yes when I inquire whether I understand the value of working hard today more than I did when I was in school.

I do know that you will need to put in a lot of effort if you want to accomplish big things. As a child, I wasn't certain about that. The level of schoolwork varied; one did not necessarily need to study really hard to perform well. And some of the things that renowned grownups did appeared to come naturally to them. Was there perhaps a way to avoid hard effort by pure genius? I now understand the response to that query. There's none.

Some topics appeared simple because my school had lax standards. And it was years of practise that allowed renowned grownups to appear to accomplish things with ease; they gave the impression that it was simple.

Of course, those well-known grownups typically have a lot of innate talent as well. Great work requires three things: innate talent, practise, and effort. You may get by with with two, but it takes all three to produce the finest results: exceptional natural talent, extensive practise, and intense effort. [1]

For instance, Bill Gates was not just one of the most intelligent businesspeople of his time, but also one of the hardest workers. In my twenties, I never took a day off, he said. Never one. The same thing happened to Lionel Messi. Although he possessed exceptional natural potential, his young instructors remember him more for his commitment and competitive spirit than for his brilliance. If I were to pick one English author from the 20th century, P. G. Wodehouse would definitely win. No one ever appeared to have it easier. But no one ever put forth more effort. At the age of 74, he remarked, "I feel as though I had picked a lemon out of the garden of literature with each new book I write." a positive development, I think. keeps one on their toes and forces them to 10 times overwrite each statement. or, frequently, twenty times.Sounds a little excessive, you believe. Bill Gates, though, sounds even more radical. Not a single holiday in 10 years? These two were about as gifted naturally as anyone could be, but they also put in about as much effort as anyone could. You require both.

Even though it appears so straightforward, we sometimes have trouble understanding it in practise. Between genius and effort, there is a flimsy xor. It derives in part from popular culture, where it seems to be deeply ingrained, and in part from the rarity of outliers. People with both excellent skill and high drive are extremely uncommon if they are both rare. Most people with a lot of one will often have less of the other. But if you want to be an outlier yourself, you'll need both. Being outstanding at what you do, to the extent that you can, comes down to working really hard since you can't really change how much innate skill you have.

If you have specific, externally imposed goals, like you have in school, it's easy to work hard. It requires a certain amount of technique; you must learn not to deceive yourself, delay (which is a sort of deceiving yourself), become sidetracked, and give up when things don't go according to plan. However, if a youngster wants it, it appears like they can achieve this degree of discipline.

Since I was a child, I've learned how to strive toward objectives that are neither clearly defined nor forced from without. If you want to do truly great things, you'll probably need to learn both.

Simply feeling that you should be working without anybody urging you to is the most fundamental level of this. Now, alarms sound when I'm not working hard. When I work hard, I can't be sure I'm making progress, but when I don't, I can be certain I'm not, and it feels terrible. [2]

There was never a certain time when I discovered this. Like most young children, I relished the sense of accomplishment I had after learning or doing something new. This developed into a feeling of disdain as I got older when I wasn't accomplishing anything. I only have one dateable landmark, which is when I quit watching television at the age of 13.

I've spoken to a few folks who recall starting to take employment seriously at this age. Patrick Collison said, "I guess about age 13 or 14," when I questioned him about when he first found laziness repulsive. Around that time, I clearly recall sitting in the living room, gazing outside, and questioning why I was squandering my summer vacation.Adolescence might bring about some changes. That would be logical.

Strangely enough, education, which made job (what they called employment) look dull and worthless, was perhaps the largest barrier to being serious about work. Prior to having a sincere desire to conduct genuine job, I had to understand what it entailed. That took some time since, even in college, a lot of labour is meaningless, and whole departments exist that serve no purpose. However, when I became more familiar with the structure of actual job, I discovered that my desire to do it fit into it as they were meant to be.

I believe that most individuals must first understand what work entails in order to embrace it. In A Mathematician's Apology, Hardy writes movingly on this topic: "I do not remember having had, as a youngster, any enthusiasm for mathematics, and any thoughts I may have had of the career of a mathematician were far from noble." I viewed mathematics in terms of tests and scholarships. I wanted to outperform other boys, and this seemed to be the most effective way to do it.It wasn't until he studied Jordan's Cours d'analyse in his second year of college that he realised what math was actually all about.I'll never forget how amazed I was to read that amazing book, which served as the inspiration for so many mathematicians of my generation and taught me for the first time what arithmetic actually meant.You need to learn to ignore two different types of fakeness in order to comprehend what true effort is. One of them is the sort Hardy saw at school. When topics are modified to be taught to children, they can become so twisted that they no longer resemble the work done by genuine practitioners. [3] The second form of fakeness is inherent in some kinds of labour. Some jobs are essentially fraudulent, or at best, merely busywork.

Real labour has a certain firmness to it. Even if not all of it is drafting the Principia, it all feels essential. That criterion is ambiguous, but it is done thus on purpose because it has to apply to many distinct kinds. [4]

Once you understand the structure of real labour, you must choose how many hours each day to devote to it. Working nonstop won't be enough to fix this issue because many types of work have a breaking point at which the quality of the output starts to deteriorate.

The upper limit varies based on the person and the type of employment. The constraints varied depending on the kind of work I was doing. I can only work on the more difficult writing or programming for roughly five hours each day. I could work continuously when I was operating a startup, though. I did that for three years at least; if I had continued for a lot longer, I probably would have needed to take breaks now and again. [5]

The limit can only be discovered by crossing it. Develop an awareness of your work's quality so that you can tell if it suffers as a result of overworking yourself. Honesty is essential in this situation, both in terms of recognising when you're being lazy and when you're working too hard. And if you believe that working too hard is admirable, get that notion out of your brain. Not only are your outcomes poorer, but they are also worse since you are flaunting them, if not to others than at least to yourself. [6]

Finding your personal upper limit requires persistent, continuing effort; it's not something you can do once. You must continually assess how hard you're trying and how well you're doing since both the complexity of the task and your capacity to do it might change hour to hour.

But working hard doesn't mean you have to push yourself all the time. There could be those that do, but I believe my experience is fairly average, and I only sometimes need to push myself when I'm beginning a project or when I run into a roadblock. I run the risk of putting things off at that point. But once I get going, I often don't stop.

The sort of work I do determines what motivates me. I was motivated by a fear of failure when I began working on Viaweb. Since there was always something to do and if I could put more distance between myself and the following beast by doing it, why wait?, I hardly ever procrastinated back then. [7] Writing essays now, however, is motivated by their defects. In the days between writings, I fidget around like a puppy trying to determine where to lay down. But once I get going on one, there's always some oversight or blunder pushing me along, so I don't have to force myself to work.

I do try to concentrate on significant subjects to some extent. A hard core often sits in the middle of an issue, with simpler material surrounding it on all sides. Working hard entails making your best effort to get toward the centre. You might not be able to on certain days, or you might only be able to work on the simpler, less important things. However, you should always aim for the centre of the target as closely as you can without pausing.

One of these issues with a solid core is the more fundamental question of what to do with your life. There are more significant, harder difficulties in the centre and less significant, simpler problems in the outskirts. You will thus occasionally need to make significant lifetime-scale modifications concerning the sort of job you want to pursue, in addition to the little, everyday adjustments necessary in working on a particular problem. The same applies to the rule: working hard implies aiming for the centre — the most challenging issues.

However, I don't just mean the present agreement regarding the centre; I mean the centre itself. Both generally and within particular professions, there is frequently error in the agreement regarding the most pressing issues. If you disagree with it and are correct, that might be a great chance to try something new.

Work that is more ambitious will often be harder, but although you shouldn't deny this, you also shouldn't use difficulty as a reliable indicator of what to undertake. Work on it if you come across an ambitious project that you find to be a bargain in that it is simpler for you than it is for others, whether it be due to your innate talents, a fresh method of approaching it, or simply the fact that you are more enthusiastic about it. People who discover a simple approach to complete a difficult task frequently produce their greatest work.

You must choose the type of job you are most suited for in addition to knowing how real work is structured. And it doesn't only entail determining which sort best fits your inherent talents; for example, being 7 feet tall doesn't mandate that you play basketball. Your aptitude depends not just on your skills, but maybe even more so on your interests. People are more motivated to work hard by a genuine interest than by any amount of discipline.

Finding your hobbies might be more difficult than finding your abilities. Talents come in fewer varieties than interests, and they are appraised from an early age, but an interest in a subject is a nuanced quality that could not develop until your thirties or even later. Perhaps the subject didn't even exist before. Additionally, there are certain significant sources of inaccuracy that you must learn to ignore. Are you truly interested in x, or are you only motivated to work on it because you can profit much from it, other people will find you impressive, or your parents want you to? [8]

The challenge of deciding what to work on varies greatly from person to person. One of the most significant lessons I've learnt about work since I was a child is that. When you're young, you assume that everyone has a calling and only needs to discover what it is. That is how it appears in movies and in the condensed biographies taught to children. In actual life, it does so sometimes. Some people, like Mozart, are born knowing what to do and just do it. However, some people, like Newton, shift erratically from one type of employment to another. We may wish Newton had spent more time studying math and physics and less time studying alchemy and theology in the past, but this is an illusion brought on by hindsight bias. He couldn't have heard any voice calling to him.

Therefore, although some people's lives converge quickly, others' lives will never converge. And for those folks, choosing what to focus on is more of a continuous process than a preparation to hard effort, similar to solving a series of simultaneous equations. For these individuals, the procedure I previously mentioned includes an additional step: in addition to assessing how hard you're working and how well you're performing, you also need to consider whether you should continue working in this industry or transition to another. If you're putting in a lot of effort but not seeing satisfactory results, change. That makes it seem easy, but in reality it's really challenging. If you work hard the first day but don't see any results, don't give up. You must allow yourself enough time to begin. How much time, though? What should you do when previously successful work ceases being successful? What window of time do you then offer yourself? [9]

What even constitutes positive outcomes? Choosing that can be really difficult. You might not even be aware of what good outcomes look like if you're investigating a field that few others have tried. There are several instances in history of people who miscalculated the significance of the task they were doing.

Finding something intriguing is the greatest gauge of whether working on it is worthwhile. Although it may seem like a risky subjective measurement, it's definitely the most accurate you'll find. You are the one doing the job. Who is in a better position to determine its relevance than you, and what greater indicator of its importance is its level of interest?

But you have to be honest with yourself for this test to work. The most remarkable aspect of the whole work-hard dilemma is how it depends on being honest with yourself at each stage, which is true.

Working hard is more than just turning the dial to 11. It's a challenging, dynamic system that has to be precisely tweaked at each stage. You must comprehend the structure of real work, recognise the type for which you are best suited, aim as closely as possible to the true essence of it, accurately assess your abilities and performance at each moment, and put in as many hours per day as you can without compromising the quality of the output. This network is too intricate to be deceived. However, if you are continuously truthful and perceptive, it will naturally take on an ideal shape and you will be productive in a manner that few others are.


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