You’ve probably heard the saying: “Work hard and you’ll be successful.” We all sort of live by this mantra right? If we just keep working hard enough, we’ll make it.
And yet, I’m sure you know a number of people who work REALLY hard – and they sadly have very little to show for it. Harsh words, right? But the truth is that, in reality, hard work does not automatically produce success, and we still keep trying to make it so!
Think of it this way: If hard work was all it took to be successful, EVERYONE would be making it! We are some of the most overworked people in history! So why isn’t everyone a smashing success?
Furthermore, how can we move forward and find a way to experience true success?
Now, please understand that hard work in and of itself is not a bad thing! Hard work, especially when done intentionally, produces perseverance and it can produce results.
But running a 4-minute mile is not meant to be sustained for 100 miles!
We end up wearing ourselves down, we lose focus and direction, and we generally make a mess of things when we are chronically overworking ourselves.
It’s September, and I’m willing to bet that you’ve been working at your sales and business all year. And chances are you’ve been working hard! And I find that, at this point, a lot of business owners find themselves hitting a plateau. They’ve been working hard – and they’re still working hard. But their efforts seem to be in vain.
If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, it’s time to study up on a phenomenon called “The Law of Reverse Effort,” which basically states this:
The harder that we work at something, the less effective we are. Alan Watts described it by saying “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”
It sounds poetic – and impractical, right? What does it mean for your sales and how can it be applied?
Well, let’s talk psychology for a minute: The conscious mind and the subconscious mind are frequently in conflict with what they want to do. When they are at odds, the unconscious mind always wins over the subconscious.
And it needs regular breaks in order to be most effective.
Have you ever gone to take a test after studying for a long time and you freeze as you stare at the test paper? You can’t remember anything! But as soon as you step away from the test, all of the answers resurface and you indeed know how to ace that test! So what was the solution to your problem?
The solution was to do nothing – let the waters clear – and the answers resurface. Moving forward becomes doable again because you spent some time doing nothing with your work!
As evidence of its effectiveness, several businesses have been in the news recently about utilizing this concept with their employees – and they are having a lot of success as a result. For instance, one business in particular experimentally implemented a 4 day work week, while still paying their employees for 5 days. The result? Productivity is up and employees are happier!
Google has been rated as one of the top companies in the US to work for. A peek inside will give you a few ideas as to why: They have a full campus of activities for their employees including an indoor rock climbing wall, and employees are encouraged to pursue interests outside of their work.
Why would Google do that? I would guess that it’s probably because they know that a well-rested mind is a creative and productive one! And clearly, it’s working for Google!
Now, some may say this is simply another way to say we should be working smarter, not harder. And that is a part of it – but part of working smarter includes intentional downtime – it requires us to spend some time away from our work – for the benefit of our work.
Does this resonate? Have you hit that plateau? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels but going nowhere? Perhaps it’s time for an intentional break. Let your mind rest a while. DO NOTHING.
You’ll find that NOTHING can produce a lot of success in your business.