Everyone loves a shortcut. It’s in our DNA. Why expend precious energy, effort or time if you don’t have to? Get Rich in 10 days, Lose 12 Pounds in a Week, Just Two Weeks to a Better Love Life are but a few examples.
Some shortcuts work well. Who doesn’t love a moisturizer that also has sunscreen in it? But some shortcuts—especially the ones that distance us from an experience and other people—can leave us feeling shortchanged.
There is no substitute for hard work. Research underscores the virtue of skipping the short cut and opting for the long cut instead. In a study of entrepreneurs, those who said they put in a great deal of effort into their budding business in the past week were more excited about their work:
The previous week’s effort influenced this week’s effort, such that more effort led to more passion.
The harder they worked, the more passionate they became. This runs counter to what many people believe—that passion is a necessary ingredient for hard work.
More often than not, it is the other way around. The more effort you put into something, the more committed you become.
I notice this with my patients all the time. As one young woman recently remarked:
The moment I started trying at school, I mean really trying not ‘pretend trying,’ my classes became so much more interesting. It makes a difference when I actually do my homework and do the reading. These teachers are actually pretty smart. Who knew?
Passion doesn’t emerge from a vacuum. It takes genuine effort and a great deal of hard work.
Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I would argue that the only way to love what you do is to do great work.