As a Society, I think we have hit an interesting convergence of these two opposites. As athletes we have an even greater relationship with both of these concepts. We work really hard to train both physically and mentally for the events we compete in, but we are often perceived as “Hardly Working” as the work we do could be misconstrued as “Play”. It gets really tricky when we are trying to find the perfect balance between the two.
The interesting twist comes when you throw these two into our professional lives, especially in our current economy. The monetary value of our work has less to with how hard we work but rather the time we put in or the system we fit into. Today, I meet more and more people with good paying 9-5 jobs that say they are “hardly working” but they put in their time seemingly wasting time. On the flip side, as a struggling entrepreneur, I meet more and more bright creative people “working hard” because they are passionate about their work but have little if any monetary compensation for their efforts. I believe this is proof that there must be a good balance between these two opposites in order to achieve fulfillment and ultimate success.
We can learn from and apply this to our training too. There is a balance between spinning easy and pushing power thresholds that is necessary to reach our potential. This is where the value of a good coach really comes into play. Most motivated talented athletes become too absorbed with the idea of “working Harder” then their competition in order to Win. When in fact, to reach their potential it is necessary to find the perfect balance between intensity and rest, nutrition and sleep, stress and relaxation. Without the guidance of an experienced coach, as determined athletes we often focus on clichés like “No Pain, No Gain” rather then realizing that our potential can be reached more effectively with a solid system that creates balance and finds efficiency. In this state of efficiency our “hard work” pays off as suddenly we feel like we are “hardly working” . This is when we become faster and stronger then ever.
Bringing this back around to living a life of purpose, we can all ask ourselves if the work we put in is leading to a rich and fulfilling life. It is in this understanding that you can decide how to manage each moment to find the balance between working hard and hardly working.