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  • As a kid, society told me that hard work led to success.

  • They taught me that the difference between the haves and the have-nots depended on effort.

  • But as an adult, I learned that society doesn't reward effort.

  • That's a myth.

  • No instead, a just society rewards effectiveness.

  • It rewards those who can get from Point A to Point B—that's it.

  • On July 11 of 2017, I published my best performing YouTube video: This is How Short Your Life

  • Is.

  • I had written the video in 2 days and didn't expect it to perform any better than my other

  • videos.

  • But after four years, the video garnered close to 4 millions views.

  • On May 26 of 2020, I published one of my worst performing videos: How to Make Hard Decisions.

  • I had spent close to 2 months working on this video and expected it to be a smash hit.

  • But after a year, it maxed out around 50 000 views.

  • After gaining space from both videos, the discrepancy in results became easier to explain:

  • the world rewarded effectiveness, not effort.

  • This Is How Short Your Life Is was a simple but effective video.

  • It delivered on, and perhaps even exceeded, the expectations of the viewer.

  • How to Make Hard Decisions, on the other hand, was the exact opposite.

  • It meandered, overstayed its welcome, and perhaps worst of all, wasn't effective in

  • the viewers eyes.

  • The world only cared about the effectiveness of my actions, not the effort, and why should

  • they?

  • I don't care how long Apple takes, or how hard they work, to create a new phone.

  • I only care if it works.

  • If Apple creates their iPhones using a magical genie lamp, without using any effort at all,

  • I'd still pay the full price for it.

  • I'd still reward them.

  • But if Apple takes ten years to make a phoneexpending lots of effort and working really hardbut

  • the phone doesn't work, I won't pay a dime for it.

  • In other words, I won't reward them.

  • I reward people based on their effectiveness, not their effort.

  • So how can I be mad when the world does the same to me?

  • At times, it looks like the world rewards hard work, but that's an illusion.

  • After she fails to ride a bike on her own, a father buys his daughter an ice cream cone.

  • It looks like he's rewarding her for her effort, but he's rewarding her for her effectiveness.

  • He knows it's effective for her to get practice, fail, and courageously try again.

  • But what if the same father gives his daughter the task of cleaning up her room?

  • If she tries hard but fails to clean her room, he may reward her the first time because,

  • like before, her practice is effective.

  • But if she continues to try and fails to clean her room, he'll stop rewarding her.

  • The world rewards effort that fails because it's effective to gain practice and learn.

  • So it looks like the world rewards us for hard work, but it's still only rewarding

  • us for effectiveness.

  • And sure, there are times whenwork hardseems to be good advice.

  • The first case is laziness.

  • If someone doesn't work at all, if they sit on the couch all day, doing something

  • is better than doing nothing.

  • But that's because doing something is often more effective than doing nothing.

  • The second instance where working hard seems to be good advice is in a predictable, slow-moving

  • society with several clearly laid out paths to success.

  • In a well-ordered society, “working hardis effective because we can just take any

  • of the ready made paths to success.

  • And there's a pattern here: “working hardis only good advice when someone else has

  • made our work useful.

  • For example, someone stands in a factory pushing a button all day.

  • They work hard and make a lot of money.

  • But working hard only works as a strategy because someone else made pushing the button

  • effective.

  • Someone who learns to work effectively learns to be the captain of their ship.

  • They learn how to steer their life in any direction they choose.

  • They know how to row to their destinations and bring others along with them.

  • Someone who learns to work hard learns how to be a good crew member.

  • They only learn how to row the boat, so they're always dependent on a captain to steer the

  • ship.

  • And without a captain to guide them to their destination, they're lost.

  • And anyone can learn to become a captain, or learn to work effectively, through practice.

  • They must begin by deciding where they want to go.

  • What's their destination?

  • Then they must come up with a theory for getting there.

  • What's the path to the destination?

  • They must test this theory in action, by trying to get to the destination.

  • Then they must receive feedback and revise their theory.

  • They rinse and repeat this cycletheory, action, feedbackuntil they arrive at their

  • destination.

  • And the best theory is the most effective one, the one that can get to the destination

  • the fastest while spending the least energy possible.

  • I have a theory for what leads to success on YouTube which I'm still trying to refine.

  • I apply it when I create new videos, and then I use the comments and analytics as feedback

  • to revise my theory.

  • Then I take action again on the new theory, receive feedback, and so on.

  • I continually repeat the cycletheory, action, feedbacklooking for a theory that's effective.

  • But only a just society rewards effectiveness.

  • And all societies to date fall short of perfect justice.

  • Sometimes society doesn't reward us when they should.

  • They don't always see and reward the effectiveness of our actions.

  • And sometimes they reward the appearance of effectiveness instead of the real thing.

  • And just because I learn to steer my ship, it doesn't mean all ports are open to me.

  • Society creates walls and barriers to my travel.

  • But these are all topics for another essay.

  • Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the greatest thinkers of the last few centuries, wrote this in his

  • masterpiece Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “I love him who does not want too many virtues.

  • One virtue is more virtue than two, because it is more of a knot for fate to cling to.”

  • And there's an ancient proverb that says, “If you chase two rabbits, you will lose

  • them both.”

  • And so Wisdom holds that it's better to aim at one thing than at two.

  • And when it comes to aiming between working hard and working effectively, I think it's

  • always better to aim at effectiveness.

As a kid, society told me that hard work led to success.

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B1 effectiveness theory effective reward effort working hard

The Myth of "Working Hard"

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    Summer posted on 2021/05/07
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