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Some Thoughts On Hard Work

I realized yesterday that I had been living under this unfortunate perception: I am working hard.  In this instance I’m referring specifically to my physical training, but this could apply to the pursuit of any goal.

Working hard compared to…?

This fact is at the core of the perception: just because I was outworking most of the people I knew, I decided I was working hard.

And then I learned what it means to work hard at strength training.  I’ll never forget it and I’ll be better for it.  Best of all, now I have a standard to shoot for once I’m working out on my own again next week.

Two questions for anyone chasing a goal

1. Do your behaviors match what you say your priorities and goals are?

If not, it is either time to reprioritize or start syncing up your habits with your goals.  No more talk.  No more wishing.  There is saying you want something and there is actually wanting it to the point where you go get it.

Big difference.

If you want to write a book, you better write something.  If you want to be strong, you better be working at it and testing your limits.  If you want to be able to do a backflip, don’t spend the whole day practicing cartwheels.

2. Are you testing yourself?  Do you know where your limits are?



I thought I did.  I was wrong.  It just took stepping outside my comfort zone.  I was happy to feel mildly superior before.   As it turns out, I wasn’t really challenging myself.  I just didn’t know it.

The best way I know to test my limits is to find people who have achieved the results I want.  The best way for me to find my own limits is to observe people whose limits are well beyond my own.

Find someone to chase.

Don’t get too comfortable.  You’ll regret it.


More thoughts on work? Let me know below.

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  • Mike CJ September 17, 2009, 3:06 am

    “Find someone to chase”

    Fortunately, in our world, it’s so easy to to do that.

    Good post Josh.

  • Zeenat{Positive Provocations} September 17, 2009, 4:18 am

    Hi Josh,
    Now this is such a simple yet highly effective{like a punch ;)}post.
    Work hard and test your limits. Two very important aspects for me to work on. I do work hard…but limits..hmm….i am on the look out now for someone to follow…..;)
    Awesome post!

  • Casey September 17, 2009, 5:38 am

    Josh I love your first point, so often our lives aren’t in synch with our goals.

    It can be pretty hard looking in the mirror and saying “I’m doing this wrong” instead of “I’m just not lucky”.

    How goes the class?

  • Josh Hanagarne September 17, 2009, 6:31 am

    @Mike: Agreed. Who are you trying to run down?

    @Zeenat: I hope it feels like a kindly, gentle, friendly punch:)

    @Casey: If by “the class,” you mean the eye-opening, jaw-dropping beatdown, it’s going great. Coming up here was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

  • Casey September 17, 2009, 10:46 am

    Josh, could you give us all a bit of a run down on what your days are like up there?

  • Zeenat{Positive Provocations} September 17, 2009, 11:08 am

    Yes Josh…a gentle and friendly punch…..;)

  • Lori September 17, 2009, 11:25 am

    1) Do my behaviors match my goal?
    No one told me I needed goals. I was only told to look busy.
    (Oops, I better get busy…)
    2) Am I testing myself; do I know my limits?
    Testing? Know my limits? Seems like I have a lot of work to do. Hmmm, I feel tired all of a sudden…

  • Casey Brazeal (North and Clark) September 17, 2009, 3:39 pm

    There’s a lot of writing in the how to succeed style blogging about how to work less, and do less. This is so much the wrong goal.

    Be more efficient – sure

    We should be looking for ways to succeed and avenues that merit our efforts, but working toward not working is a trap.

  • Joe D. September 17, 2009, 3:55 pm

    Nice post Josh. We all need to be more accountable for our efforts every day, and reflective on whether or not we truly give our best in what we do. More posts like this, please.

  • Josh Hanagarne September 17, 2009, 6:55 pm

    @Casey: Here’s what it’s been like so far. Hard workouts. Lots of Z Health and mobility work. Lots of talking and troubleshooting my movements. Lots of PRs. Tonight Adam fixed a shoulder that had been bothering me for an entire year. And not only was it fixed, I pressed more weight with each arm tonight than I ever had. I’ll be writing this up in depth next week.

    @Lori: Quit playing, you. You’ve got goals.

    @Casey B: “working towards not working.” Well said.

    @Joe D: Thanks Joe. More coming.

  • Rob McMurren September 17, 2009, 8:32 pm

    the best lesson i have learned withstrength training is to keep finding people stronger than you to train with.
    Thanks for the post, helps me in evaluating my own training and goals

  • Gubernatrix September 18, 2009, 4:43 am

    Useful thoughts Josh! I too tend to assume that my training is good but if I was going to be super honest, I probably coast a lot of the time. Thanks for the kick up the butt!

  • Pete | The Tango Notebook September 18, 2009, 6:16 am

    My actions are definitely in sync with my goals and I have lost some friends over them. When you’re focused, many wanna-be friends drop out of your life because they don’t have the same vision as you.

  • Michael DeVoe September 18, 2009, 10:04 am

    Great post. I’ll start by thanking you for your guest post on my blog this week. The points you made here came at a very good time in my life. I’m ready to make the changes in my life today that help me really achieve my goals and stop talking about what I need to do.

  • Jessica Marie September 18, 2009, 11:01 am

    Curse you and your challenges to help me become a better person. I’ve been setting very achievable goals and feeling good achieving them. I don’t stretch nearly as much I as should. Thanks.

  • Rhys September 18, 2009, 11:56 am

    “Don’t get too comfortable. You’ll regret it.”

    Boy, don’t I feel that (after 4 years of living “comfortably”, I’m taking a plunge next year). Comfortable is a polite word for “rut”.

    Great post, swung by through Problogger 🙂

  • Victoria Vargas September 19, 2009, 11:13 am

    This is a fabulous post! I love your suggestion to synch up your habits with your goals. A simple statement with profound implications. This one’s going on the fridge for daily consideration. Glad to hear the class is going well and is enjoyable.

  • Ricardo Bueno September 20, 2009, 5:09 pm

    I have an accountability buddy that I check in with weekly. We have similar goals so each week, we discuss what we’re out to accomplish and we continuously push ourselves to get there and to meet our weekly goals.

    • Josh Hanagarne September 20, 2009, 10:27 pm

      Ricardo, that’s fantastic. You’re well ahead of the game.

  • Beth L. Gainer September 20, 2009, 10:39 pm

    This is a great posting, Josh. I have a book I’m writing, and it can get discouraging because I have all these self-doubts. One of my other goals, to resume running, has been so hard to attain since my very complicated surgery three years ago.

    I work really hard at striving to achieve my dreams, so I keep plugging away. You are right about having our behaviors match our goals. I’m happy to report that I am getting up in the morning to write and trying to run. Ran a fifth of a mile recently, which is good for me nowadays. I get frustrated because pre-surgery, I could do a 5K. But I have to accept the new me and do what I can to stay in shape.

    I really needed to hear your words of inspiration and encouragement.


    • Josh Hanagarne September 20, 2009, 10:57 pm

      Beth, you’re welcome. I’ve no doubt that you’ll be able to do whatever you want. What’s the book? Can you say?

  • sirisha August 10, 2011, 10:02 am

    hard work leads to the good future in lifr
    try and fail but never fail to try