Sara sent me this clip of Will Smith saying that while other people may be better or smarter than he is at his craft, nobody will ever outwork him. As he puts it, “I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. Period.”
It’s a great example, but only if you follow it correctly.
Just because you put in more hours and get less sleep than everyone else doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re working hard. If you won’t ask your teacher for help when you need it, if you answer your phone, texts and emails when you’re trying to get your homework done, if you sign up for multiple activities you don’t care about just so you can list them on your resume, sure, you’ll be working a lot and probably staying up late. But working long doesn’t equal working hard.
It’s hard work to pay attention in class like your grade depended on it. It’s hard work to take on a project in your club that nobody else wants to do. It’s hard work to shut off all your communication and focus for two hours on chemistry, or work the lights for the school play when you didn’t get cast in a part, or sweep up the store at your part-time job even when you aren’t asked to.
Instead of thinking about how many hours you’re putting in,ask yourself at the end of each day, “What did I do today that was actually hard?”