Every guru will tell you, “Work smart, not hard.”
I call bullshit.
Rather, I like to say, “Work smart AND hard.”
Doing so never lets you down.
And that does not mean doing it all yourself.
Look, I'm a sports guy. At least I used to be. Now I admit that my view on big-time sports (includes professional and collegiate sports as well as for-profit high school sports) has changed.
I'm tainted. Biased. Discouraged. Because it's less about the sport and passion and more about the money
. Strike that.
It's all about the money.
I like the “old timers.” You know, the guys I grew up watching, idolizing, admiring, and wanting to emulate…
None of those guys were the most gifted in their sport. At least not at the beginning. Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He went home and cried.
Rice sucked as a rookie. Dropped a lot of balls.
And Bonds? Okay, he was freakin' gifted. But he took “gifted” to another level. There wasn't a better hitter ever once he decided to be the best.
Ali? He wasn't a multiple-time heavyweight champ because he always won. Think about that a moment. He lost a few times. To better boxers.
Ken Norton was a far superior athlete. Broke Ali's jaw. Beat him once. Some say Norton won all 3 of the Ali-Norton fights.
Yet Ali kept coming back.
Here's a great story about Ali and what I'm driving at:
Somebody once asked Angelo Dundee, Ali's longtime trainer and corner man, “Who is the hardest-working athlete you ever trained?”
He didn’t say the best. He said the hardest-working.
Dundee said, “Oh, that’s easy.
“Muhammad Ali was head and shoulders above everybody else in work ethic.”
This is a quote from Muhammad Ali.
He said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said to myself, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now, and I could spend the rest of my life as a champion.’”
Jordan, Rice, Bonds, and Ali all trained harder than their peers. Controversy aside (Bonds took steroids, for example), they ALL trained super hard.
In short, they worked hard AND smart. They didn't do it alone, of course. Each had trainers and handlers and mentors. That's not the point.
The point is – they all showed up to practice early, worked out whether they wanted to or not, and stayed late to perfect their craft.
Then they went home and watched film.
Their craft was their passion. Hard work got them to where they wanted to be.