You aren’t putting in the work.
I know you aren’t because you clicked on this title. Magic!
You know that you aren’t putting in the work and you want to know why. Why haven’t you been inspired to put in the work?
You tell everybody you’re working hard, you’re always busy, you’re always exhausted, and you use those things as markers of your productivity. You explain to everyone that you don’t have time to be on Twitter, or Facebook or whatever other social network sites you consider to be stupid because you are “busy doing work”.
No, you’re not. You’re just not.
You’re not busy doing work and you aren’t busy doing work for the following reasons:
- You’re spending time doing other things
- You’re in the habit of complaining and not doing
- You’re scared that if you do it, you’ll fail
- You aren’t even sure what you are working toward and so that scares you
- You’re stuck on research and asking for mentors instead of actually doing anything
- You’re uninspired and lazy
- Everyone’s journey looks easier than yours
1) You’re spending time doing other things.
You’re spending time doing other things.
You spend time looking at the ceiling, going on Facebook, deciding that Instagram and Twitter are great places to distract yourself and you aren’t using them to spread your brand and to promote yourself but as escapes. You are spending your time reading your life away, reading books that don’t even occasionally develop you as a person.
Don’t worry, I’m the Queen of Recreational Reading.
But you aren’t even injecting a book or two in there that will help you to be better. You’re watching YouTube videos and you’re only watching the ones that are funny but none that are inspirational, and certainly none that are helpful, none that help to develop you as a person, that help you be better, do more.
You’re also spending your time getting involved in clubs and societies, not so that they can continue to make you better but that you can avoid doing the real work that you should be doing.
What’s that real work?
I don’t know. And that’s a struggle that you have to work through.
But are you putting in the work? Are you putting in the time and effort to figure out what that real thing is? Or are you distracting yourself doing other things like watching TV shows? I mean, you could be spending your time doing drugs and alcohol, you could be spending time partying, you could be spending time hanging out with friends instead of doing the real work that you have been put here to do. That’s great.
Because you aren’t putting in the work and therefore the rewards you are looking for will not exist.
You want something that looks like the “Law of Attraction” or “The Secret” where you close your eyes and say you want $1 million and tomorrow it arrives. Your joke to all your friends, (but you aren’t really joking because you are serious), is that you want to win the Lotto because that is the way you think getting money works.
That hard work and perseverance and closing your eyes and doing what needs to be done is not the thing you want to be doing.
You are spending your time doing other things. And that’s just you not doing the work.
2) You’re in the habit of complaining vs doing
You’re in the habit of complaining vs. doing. You are the Queen or King of Complaints. The world is out to get you, everyone is mean, nobody wants to hire you, this thing isn’t working out, why’d your boss shout at you, your friend is being unreasonable, why doesn’t she give you a discount, doesn’t she see that it’s important.
Everyone is out to get you and this habit of complaining is one that is a loser mindset. It’s one that you’ve already said to yourself, and to anyone around you, that you aren’t a doer. You are someone that will talk about what needs to be done then explain why you can’t do it.
You’re not in the middle of the process then trying to figure things out as you go along. You have decided from the comfort of your living room couch that you are not going to be able to succeed and you are going to complain about it.
I’m not talking here about the kind of venting where you meet up on some frustration and you decide you need to get that out and have somebody hear that. Of course, on occasion, we all have those sorts of moments. And you know what, there may be really dark times in your life where you will vent more often than others.
But, if you are in the habit of complaining more than actually trying things out, actually doing things, going out and seeing what can be done, and if you hit up into roadblocks, you’d then be surprised by the people, by virtue of your habit of doing, will be more than willing to come to your aid. And even if they don’t come to your aid, GOOGLE.COM. Google is your friend.
3) You are scared of what will happen if you fail
You are scared of what will happen if you fail.
You are terrified that if you actually put in the work, that if you actually spend time learning, and doing, and executing, that you’ll suck at it. That this will not be the thing you thought it would be. That your dreams of being a world-famous violinist, for example, are not going to pan out because you are only ok, you aren’t really amazing. And you aren’t going to be an amazing Messi-like footballer because you could play scrimmage on a Saturday but you aren’t great.
What you then do is not to do the work, not to be the best you can be, not to execute, not to take those skills to the next level because your fear is, if you are actually to max out your potential that it wouldn’t be Lebron, that it wouldn’t be Messi, that it wouldn’t be the most awesome and amazing version that the world sees.
But you know what, that’s the lie. That lie is that not doing the work prevents you from finding that out. That’s a lie.
The lie is that if you fail to do the work that you somehow are still Messi underneath it all.
How to find what you are good at
What your job in this life is to do is to figure out what you are good at. And that may mean trying several different things. That may mean looking around at all the things you have done and realizing that you are only a 5/10 in five things but 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 you seem to be getting 6’s and 7’s and who knows, 11 and 12, you could potentially be a 9 and then focusing on those things that are really good and important for you to be doing.
You’re not scared that you are not very good at doing something. You know that there are some things you aren’t going to be particularly good at. Nobody is good at everything.
What you’re concerned about is that the thing that you feel that you want to be doing all day every day, is not the thing that you are actually very good at and it may be something far more boring.
However, you know what, those are your skills, and you can be the most excellent at your skills that you are best at.
This planet needs you to be best at things.
And we figure out what we are best at by figuring out what we are not as good at. So, if you are scared to do because you are scared of failure, here’s what happens, everybody will suck at something and your fear of failure only prevents you from going through the process of sucking really quickly so you can get to the things you are really good at.
Some people are at Suck #4 for a very long time and #5 could be the thing they are awesome at if only they would finish sucking at #4 really quickly to get to number 5.
4. You aren’t even sure what you are to be working toward.
You aren’t even sure what you are to be working toward. You are unclear as to what your goals, dreams, and aspirations are supposed to be for you to be doing the hard work. You are putting in the work but you aren’t clear on what exactly you are supposed to be working toward.
I’m preaching to myself here since I’ve apparently have finished my 10-year plan EARLY.
Hmmn. What does that mean?
That means I don’t know what I’m working hard towards. I don’t know which direction I’m supposed to be going in, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. But, you doing the work, and me doing the work, means trying things. It means, even if I’m not sure of the direction I’m going in, learning computer skills, working on my public speaking, working on my ability to code or work on a website, anything I’m doing in the meantime is going to be a future skill that is going to be important.
If I think of anything that I have done that appeared random in the past, I look now and I see how they all link together and are an integral part of what I do today in ways I could never have foreseen to be important then I need to stop and you need to stop questioning the things that you need to be trying out.
If you aren’t sure what it is that you are supposed to be working toward, don’t worry about it. Your job, your goal, is to work on something until that clarity comes. That clarity may come through trying a bunch of things and then to decide that this direction, for right now, seems best because this is what I’m good at, this is what I’m becoming good at and it gives me an opportunity to shine.
Life works itself out. Life sorts itself out and if you are to be moved unto a different path, you will be moved unto a different path. But in the meantime, don’t get stuck doing nothing.
You aren’t doing the work and aren’t putting in the work because you don’t know where you should be going BUT put in the work anyway so that future you is really happy that you have the skills that you worked on right now.
5. You’re stuck at research and asking for mentorship instead of doing
You’re stuck at research and asking for mentorship instead of doing. You aren’t putting in the work because you FEEL you are putting in the work.
You feel that preparing to do the thing you’ve set out to do is really important and therefore, you’re going to need to prepare. And by prepare I mean, spend 4 weeks researching or asking for help, or trying to figure things out.
What you’re really doing is delaying the work you ought to be doing. You aren’t putting in the work because you think that researching and looking things up forever is actually the work. You believe that you can’t start unless you know the perfect place to start. Heaven forbid you make a mistake along the way! That is not the way life works best! You would have been delinquent in your research if you didn’t look through EVERY SINGLE THING and therefore, what you have convinced yourself of is you’re actually doing work by doing all this research and prep work.
Is some preparation important? Absolutely. And that’s the way I function in life. It is a necessity for me to feel comfortable in even moving off. But preparing for 4 months, preparing for 2 weeks without trying, without doing anything you are learning, merely amassing information with no execution, no attempting, no figuring things out as you go along is useless.
It feels good, it feels nice, it’s very energetic to walk around going “I will absolutely do this thing perfectly because I researched the hell out of it and everyone who has done something has told me something”.
But you know the issues with that? There are two:
- If you are doing your work, which is going to be hard work, it’s going to be slightly different from anything that has been created out there before. It isn’t going to be completely different, you’re not going to likely reinvent the wheel. But your spin, your twist, your variation on what you are doing is going to be the thing that changes it. Therefore, everything you have learned beforehand is going to be important but not 100% necessary for where you are going. That means you trying and attempting and fiddling and tweaking are going to be a really importants part of that process.
- Next, you being stuck on research means that you forget that research is useless without execution. You forget that the research is useless and you’ll have to research all over again if all you do is amass information. You read, you read, you read, then in the process of doing, you have to go back and find all this out once more.
School rewards you for bursts of periods of learning a lot information then reproducing it. Life does not.
Therefore we have to make sure that we are mindful to make that mental switch from school life, where you are academically challenged but also rewarded for your ability to regurgitate information, or at least apply it in very specific contexts to get good grades.
And s different from life where you may do something perfectly but that level of perfection was not what was required and therefore you are either behind because it took you so long to be perfect or by the time you got there, everything else has changed.
So, you don’t wanna be stuck on research and asking for mentorship and prepping. Just do it!
6. You’re uninspired and lazy
You’re uninspired and lazy. You’re not putting in the work because you don’t feel like it, you are not motivated to put in the work. Your current level of motivation does not quite pull you towards doing the work.
Yeah, you’ll show up. Yeah, you’ll phone it in where necessary but you aren’t putting in the work because you aren’t inspired to put in the work. You look around and say “I could phone this in and push paper, barely get things done and get paid or barely get things done and pass” and for you, that’s okay. And you know what, sometimes, when life is stressful and difficult, that may be good. BUT, you aren’t putting in the work because you are uninspired. But you can be inspired by putting in the work, maybe it’s going to be in a different area.
So maybe, if your day job doesn’t inspire you, you may look at an outside hustle to see if it inspires you and rekindles what you liked at your job. But also, it may be at work or at school, learning different sorts of skills in your particular area, being mindful that these skills are useful to you and they continue to add value. But if you are bored, if you are uninspired, if you are lazy (and lazy is harder to fix than some of the other things) then you need to find things that move you.
Most of us have things that we are interested in and those things may not match completely with the things we have to do to make money or be productive at school. But you know what? Those things certainly can be your inspiration.
If I told you tomorrow morning to meet me at 3:30 a.m. to collect $1 million, you would be inspired. You wouldn’t be lazy anymore. You would get up and you would be there early. You would make sure I was there, you would look around for me, you’d make sure I was there when I said I would be and you’d count the money to make sure it was all there. You would be inspired.
What you need to similarly do is find that thing that inspires you. Find that thing that moves you and then move forward.
7. Everybody else’s journey looks easier than yours.
You aren’t putting in the work because everybody else’s journey looks easier than yours. You’re looking around you and everybody else just didn’t seem to have to do as much work as you’re are going to have to do in order to be successful, in order to achieve. You look around and people are going to parties every single weekend, people are having drinks, people are having brunch, they look really successful.
And, when they tell you their stories they say “Well, I just happened to get some money, and made some great some investments” and you go “Wow, your journey is much easier than mine, the kind of work I’m going to have to put in to get to that level of success is just ridiculous! Everybody else has had it easier than I had and therefore, I can’t do that. I not only can’t be bothered, it is UNFAIR for me to have to put in that much work, it isn’t reasonable to expect me to turn around and do all that work.”
I’m saying to you however that everybody’s journey that you see, whether in fabulous pictures on Instagram of Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn aren’t people’s journey’s, they’re their “highlight reels of their journeys”.
When I look at my profile on LinkedIn for example, it looks nice, yay, it looks like I’ve achieved all sorts of things. And I have. But LinkedIn doesn’t have space for FAILED, FAILED, FAILED, REJECTED, REJECTED, FAILED, FAILED, and because you only see people’s highlight reels but not their behind the scenes, you are convinced that everybody is doing something really really awesome and had a really short journey or a different sort of journey than yours.
Your journey and their’s will not be the same but it will require hard work. GaryVee likes to say “There’s nobody you know that’s been successful that didn’t work hard to get there.” Nobody at least that didn’t get left money from somebody else. But somebody who worked for it, they did the WORK in order to get where they are.
You have become comfortable with the idea that everybody’s journey is easier than yours because you don’t know the details of their journey. And in not knowing the details, you can’t make any sort of practical assessment.
Do your own work. Put in the work because you are aware that your journey is going to be difficult. If you start off knowing it’s going to be hard but it’s doable, then you can absolutely conquer your mental fear and your mental blocks.
Everybody’s journey isn’t easier than yours, it’s just different. What’s challenging to them may not be challenging to you. And therefore, for your growth, for your continued development, you’re going to get different sorts of challenges. The kind of challenges that will make whatever you are hoping to achieve in the future, better.
CALL TO ACTION
So, in closing, you aren’t putting in the work but you can. You can absolutely take these steps and say, “I can put in the work because these roadblocks can be eliminated and I can do better and I can see better that putting in the work gets me where I want to go. And that I’m not right now working hard.”
You’re not right now working hard but you can if you do these things. Apply 1. Work your way down the list.
And as always, be kind to yourself.