When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off Stop And Do This

hard work doesnt pay off

Simple fact of life: working hard doesnt pay off. I mean look at Donald Trump… didnt work at all… need more evidence? Okay, here is my deal…

It is hitting me like a softball in the groin today that working hard doen’t pay off.

Let me be real with you. I have been sitting here on the couch all day ruminating over the past and the future.

For the past…

Scratch that.

For my entire life I have been attempting to make myself successful and it has never quite happened. I have never quite hit the sweet spot.

  • As an actor, I got to tour England and was eh, okay. But I never became famous.
  • As a writer, I have a flipping great novel that I’ve completed but I haven’t managed to find an agent for it.
  • As a commentator, I get to commentate some pretty great tournament (I commentated Street Fighter V tournaments).
  • And as a blogger I’ve never quite managed to take off either.

Oh, by the way, you might have noticed that I do a lot of different, unrelated things. Yup. That’s mostly on account of having too many passions.

So, in a nutshell. My life has been a constant attempt to become successful, and never quite making it, while getting exceptionally good at lost of different things, and then never actually being able to capitalise on them.

If that sounds familiar to you then… well, I will be amazed. But if it does sound familiar to you, let me know because it would be good to know someone who is as messed up and crazy as I am. That would be fantastic so, leave a comment.

What I’ve learned from this routine of failing no matter how hard I try, is that hard work doesn’t pay off.

Yes, this sounds very strange. But the truth is that sometimes you can try too hard to achieve something and in the process of trying too hard, you control things too much and it all falls to pieces.

Hard work doesn’t pay off.

So if hard work doesn’t pay off, what does?

Letting go.

Looking back at my life, my successes have been in things I do because I love them, and I have failed at things I’ve tried too hard to control.

Let’s start with the trying too hard bit.

When you grip onto something too tightly it simply falls apart in your hands. For instance, my career as a freelance media specialist. Failed. Why? Because I tried too hard. My ambition was (is) to become an independent media consultant, helping people with my site PMHarrison.com to build their online brands. But it blew up like the Hindenburg because I was too darned controlling. I tried to find perfect clients, to represent myself as my brand perfectly, and to please everyone. I tried to be perfect. Tried too hard. Fell to pieces.

On the other hand, this weekend I was commentating a pretty big Street Fighter tournament in Toronto (thus making me the only spiritual blogger in the world who is also a gaming commentator, or so I believe).

Do you know how hard I tried to become a gaming commentator? Not hard at all. I was playing games with a group of people in our local gaming scene. We started running tournaments. And because I have a background as an actor and a journalist, I figured I might be the best person to do the commentary. And so I did. At no point did I actually attempt to create something. I simply saw an opportunity, suggested that I might be the right person for something, and did it. And I continued to do it because I love it. And that led to success.

So, I failed at the thing I tried to succeed in. And I succeeded in the thing that I just did for the love of it.

Is that just a coincidence? Or is this how it works? Are you more likely to succeed by trying hard, or by simply doing the thing you love?

For me, I find that life is a lot like singing. Have you ever tried to sing properly?  I took 8 years of classical singing lessons between 16 and 24. Tried insanely hard to get good. Was trash. Then I quit for ten years. And now when I just chill out and sing, it actually sounds very good. Why is that? Well, if you are stressed when you sing you will put tension on your vocal chords (the bit that produces the sound). That stress will prevent your vocal chords from vibrating freely. And it will ruin the sound. When you relax, on the other hand, your vocal chords relax. Then they can vibrate freely and produce a beautiful sound.

Life is the same. When you try too hard you put stress on yourself. That prevents you from moving freely. And because you cannot move freely you are limited in what you can do. So, stress directly lowers your chances of succeeding, just as stress prevents your vocal chords from vibrating.

Hard work doesn’t pay off. But THIS does…

The whole idea that hard work pays off is the biggest load of horse crap ever.

Hard work doesn’t pay off.

Trying hard will not pay off.

What will pay off? Energy. Energy in droves.

Now you might be thinking, “Putting energy into something and working hard at something are one and the same”. But that simply is not true.

There is a very important difference between putting tons of energy into something and “working hard’ at something.

Working hard implies striving. It implies fighting. It implies stress. Because when we think about “work” we think “stress”. It’s as though those two terms were synonymous with one another. Even people who enjoy their job tend to think about stress when they hear the word “work”.

So let’s just ditch that word, “work”. We are not going to “work hard”. Because working hard will not pay off. I personally worked my butt off on my media consultancy. Failed. Miserably. Failed the way McDonalds salads failed. Wasn’t even a tasty failure.

Working hard did not pay off for me.

But as you know, my on-the-side commentary gig has been taking off. And I did not “work hard” at it. Did not work at all at it. BUT (I like big “buts” and I cannot lie). The big BUT is this: I didn’t work hard or try hard BUT I did pour an absolute bucket load of positive energy into it because I love it.

There is a very important difference here. “Working hard” meant I tried to control my media consultancy and I gripped so hard it crumbled to pieces. Positive energy and love, however, allowed me to throw myself at the commentary gig but at the same time have the freedom and flexibility to have fun with it and to let loose.

Do you see the difference? It’s the difference between working hard and pouring positive energy into something.

I have literally convinced myself, just in the tie that I’ve written this article, that I should not try hard. I mean I am 35 now and trying hard has never worked.

Here is a list of things I will not do, things that are about “working hard”

I will not be overly controlling.

I will not put stress on myself because it inhibits me

I will not make demands of myself

I will not “try” (which will make Yoda proud, at any rate, after all “do or do not, there is no try”.

I will not “work hard”


And here is what I WILL do:

I will pour positive energy into things

I will follow my passion

I will dedicate myself to what I love

I will share that love with others

I will chill out and enjoy my work occupation


Will you join me in doing love, and not doing work?

So, we’ve looked at why hard work doesn’t pay off. So with that in mind: will you quit your job for something you love?

Honestly, this is going to be the path to success? Why?

Because when you pour your positive energy and love into your occupation, other people will notice that positivity. And they will want to be a part of it.


Ditch the work. Choose love instead. Who’s with me?



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