Letter No 61 - Is hard work really needed?

Obviously, it is.

But, is it?

I feel there is no such thing as hard work.

There are only FIVE different states that we can be in - work, struggle, leisure, rest and confusion.


REST is the simplest. But certainly not the easiest! Nowadays too many people don't sleep well, and can't sit quietly without constant stimulation. Rest is not watching TV. Rest is doing nothing - truly resting. Allowing the body and mind to recuperate. The single most of all our activities - and also most devious - because I believe most of us don't get enough rest.


LEISURE is close to pleasure. Things that we do for fun and relaxation (not the same at rest!) fit in this box. Watching a movie, listening to music, reading a book, hanging out with friends, being a part of a band, having a hobby, are a part of our leisure. Leisure is an absolute must in our lives and adds zest and joyfulness and spontaneity to our existence. Once again, I truly feel very few of us actually have good quality leisure time.


STRUGGLE is the state we often confuse with work. It is when we are working but are not fully into it, not enjoying it, or not in a state of flow. Results are not happening, or even if they are, the efforts needed to create those results are burning us out. It may be a toxic environment, or a mismatch of interests or values, or a misalignment between goals and resources that might be causing it. But it's a struggle and it feels like one.


WORK is work only when we are clear why we are doing it, what we expect to contribute, and what we expect to gain. Work is work when are internally motivated and not doing it because someone else said we must. This state exists inspite of difficulties, resistances, challenges and even impossibilities. Sometimes the work is intensely boring (like accounts is for me), or crazily difficult (like sales), but we still do it with joy when we know why we must, and what it means to us. This kind of work does not burn us out. It tires us. But it gives us energy. It gives us growth. It expands us.


CONFUSION is the fifth state I want to talk about, and in my view the most common. This happens when we are unclear of why we are doing what we are doing. It happens when there are conflicting messages hitting us from our close ones about what is important. Do this, don't do that, why this, why not that - if we don't have the intellectual strength to cut through the clutter, or the mental strength to not get hassled - confusion is the biggest energy drainer there is. It can feel like you are walking in a lush green garden, but tugging along a truckload of bricks by a rope tied on out back. It feels like swimming in the middle of a storming. You work hard, but get no where.


Recently, the CEO of the Bombay Shaving Company wrote a post about how he believes young people in the age group of 20 - 25 should work 18 hours day to build a strong foundation. I understand the spirit and intention he has as he shares this.

But, he encountered a huge amount of flak for saying this. People are trolling him for asking people not to worry about mental health and balance and just keep working. But I don't he means this.

Next week, we are hosting an event called 'Grooming the next generation for business'. Our event tagline is 'Joote Ghisne Padenge' which means - you will have to work damn hard, until the soles of your shoes get worn out.

Yep, that means - you have to work hard. We mean it. Get working and get doing things is the best way to create a strong foundation.

I'm writing this letter to tell you that work must be work, and not struggle or confusion. And their needs to be the right amounts of leisure and rest along with this. Then, you can go all out and WORK. Things will happen for you. Pathways will open up.

Take a few moments to do a quick audit of your current state of like - what is the mix of rest, leisure, struggle, work and confusion you face. Make a quick self assessment. Take a few decisions that will help you that this balance right. Take action.

Have fun,