Part 1: Is Hard Work Enough?

Hardwork and Success - Push gigantic bolder uphill
Does Hardwork equals Success?

It’s Poor Thinking Habits That Keep Most People Poor Not Poor Working Habits. Most People Work Hard. – Earl Shoaff

Do you agree with that quote?

Here’s a story to illustrate the point.

I’m sitting in a booth at Mike’s Grill, a favorite restaurant about 30 mins south of Washington DC. It’s almost 6:00 pm, late April, Spring is in the air, and the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom.  I am waiting for my friend Carl to arrive for our monthly mastermind dinner.

I knew something was off from the time I saw Carl approaching. He wasn’t smiling. He was tense. Teeth clenched and red in the face.

I’ve never seen him like buddy in this state.

“Hey what’s wrong man?” I said, In the most concern voice I could summon.

“I’m f*#king fed up with the charade! That’s what’s wrong”

“Excuse me!” “What the did I do?” I said

“No, no. It’s not you. It’s those vampires I work for.” He replied.

And then Carl went on a rant

“You work your arse off day in day out thinking and hoping someone notices and that it leads to something better.

“But no one notices your hard work and sacrifices.”

“All they see is your shortfall. All they want is more and more from you.”

“I thought hard work is supposed to count for something,”

I nodded in agreement not knowing what else to say.

“Well, clearly not for me it doesn’t!!!”

“If it did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and I won’t need to have another disappointing talk with Sue [his wife] tonight.”

“So no it doesn’t!!! Hard work is the blood that feeds the vampires. They’re the ones who benefit. Not us!”

“Oh God Sue… how can I face her?”

“How many more broken promises can she take?”

His mood changed from anger to worry and despondency. I can see he was thinking, reflecting.

“I’m well into my 40’s and what do I have to show for it?”

“What have I accomplished?”

“I’m so far behind where I thought I would be.”

He paused for a few seconds.

Maybe I should say something I thought. But what?

I wasn’t sure. My mind was running off in all directions trying to figure out what or who got to him.

Just as I was about to break the silence. He started back again.

“You know If you asked me ten yrs ago where I was going to be today one thing is for sure that I would not have imagined it would be where I am.

“Sometimes I feel like I am Usain Bolt on a treadmill… running fast going nowhere.”

“Well, maybe not Usain.  He’s too fast. He might outrun the treadmill.”

“It’s more like one of those ultramarathoners on a treadmill. Running, running, running. At least for the last two decades. I’m still running and the scenery is the same.”

“It’s not like I am ungrateful for my life…  you know I am grateful.”

“It’s just that I feel like I’ve been on this slow, consistent march filled with unfulfilled dreams and laden with underachievements and mediocre results.”

“And just when you think things are about to turn the corner, the vampires pull the rug right out from under you to remind you to stay in your place.”

And that’s how the conversation went with my friend Carl that day at Mikes Grill.

I am sure you are as curious as I was to find out what the hell happened to Carl.

Well, I’m gonna tell.

But before we go there you need to meet Carl to be able to connect the dots.

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