By now, we have all probably heard the saying, “work smart not hard”. And, I bet you are ready to shove this particular saying straight in my face because I made my first post all about working hard. Well, Please allow me to explain.
To clarify, I am not saying that brute gritty manual labor-oriented work is the only way to accomplish goals. I am saying that learning about a particular topic at the foundation level first is the best way to approach an endeavor.
Real World Example
This gritty hard-work mindset is especially relevant when you are investing. Before you hand a check over to your stockbroker, do you know what funds you are actually buying or what company you are investing in? In addition, are you like most Americans, in debt? Do you know that in most cases, paying off debt before investing is a better use of money in terms of wealth generation? (I promise to cover this topic in a future post).
Sit down and do the work! If you are investing in the stock market, know what companies you are investing in and how they performed over the last recessions. If you investing in a mutual fund or Roth IRA, know what these tools are and how they work.
Are you about to purchase a home? Do you know how much money you will waste obtaining a traditional mortgage? By renting and aggressively saving, you can pay for your home in cash, and then invest the money you no longer have to spend on rent and retire early! I promise to write about this in a future post.
(Update: Here is the math)
Lastly, read. Yes, Read. Sounds simple right? But most people don’t do this simple little act. With whatever it is that you are about to get your hands into, read from a few people who have already done whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish. Why not learn from their lessons? Knowledge is power!
Working hard and working smart are mutually inclusive
For instance, twice in my life I have ripped muscles in my body. Yes. Twice. When will I learn? I now have a ritual while enduring the months of recovery and physical therapy from the surgery of repairing ripped muscles. Specifically, while recovering, I spend hours reading about the particular workout that injured me trying to find the root cause. This insight gives me a level of understanding as to why I injured myself from the routine. Now, think about this, if I were to pour this same amount of effort into learning about the workout that broke me before I hit the gym, the injury could have been prevented in my case.
Obviously, one should work smart. And it is never smart to not work hard. Please assume that when I say, “hard work” I am implying that we work efficient as possible too.