Can You Be Successful Without the Grind?

Many of us fall into the trap of believing that becoming successful will require a lot of hard work. Everywhere you turn, internet gurus are urging their followers to “hustle” and “grind” hundreds of hours a week, sacrificing everything for the cause. 

Spouse doesn’t get it? Screw them, move onto a friend’s couch so you can hustle all night without them bothering you.

So tired that you can’t even remember your kid’s name? Write it in Sharpie on your hand and keep on grinding. They’ll thank you for it later.

I’m going to piss off Gary Vee right now and say that this grind thing is totally overrated. Sorry, but sacrificing “success” at the expense of my health and family relationships is just not a life I find appealing in the least.

And while hard work can be good for us, too much of it can create the opposite effect we’re going for.

Think about it: we crave fulfilling work because we want to enjoy our daily lives, not feel exhausted or bored. Taking hard work to the extreme only holds us back, personally and professionally.

The Hard Work Myth

Contrary to what you may have been taught, hard work alone has little (if nothing) to do with success.

Think about people who are working long hours at low-paying jobs every day. Are they becoming successful because of their hard work? Or are they simply scraping by, paycheck to paycheck – as so many of us do?

Simply working hard is not the answer to becoming successful. Working steadily in a FOCUSED direction is. That’s why I led you through all that “identifying your talents” stuff at the beginning of this chapter. If you don’t know what you’re working toward, you will be spinning your wheels no matter how hard you work.

Once you know your objective (passionate, fulfilling work that contributes value to the world), it is easy to come up with focused action steps that will make it a reality.

Working hard in THAT context can be extremely effective. You know where you’re going, you know exactly what to do to get there, and all you need is the discipline and determination to see it through.

Making Time for What Really Matters

It is crucial to avoid getting caught in the trap of all work and no play. Often when our dream is big, or it has been a part of us for a very long time, we become consumed by it. We trick ourselves into believing that sacrificing our relationships and family time in order to achieve our goals will pay off in the long run – but sadly, this is rarely true.

Instead, keeping a healthy balance between work and play automatically helps us feel energetic and enthusiastic, therefore we are less stressed, and therefore our focus becomes sharper and we get more done in less time.

If I had known what it would be like to have it all, I might have been willing to settle for less.
– Lily Tomlin

Think about it this way: whatever you focus on the most expands, and whatever you turn your focus away from shrivels and dies.

That may be the reason you don’t feel like you have achieved the success you desire; because you have not given your career path the focus it deserves.

Likewise, if your relationships are lacking, or you struggle with financial strain, or your health and fitness leaves something to be desired. It works the same in all areas of your life. Everything needs nurturing to help it grow.

So, believing that it won’t matter if you neglect the other areas of your life while you are actively pursuing success is a grave mistake.

If you make a conscious effort to see all aspects of your life as an INVESTMENT in your productivity, you will reap great rewards! What do I mean by investment?

The time you take to care for yourself, build strong relationships with your family and friends, and recharge your mental and physical batteries will DIRECTLY affect your ability to succeed at anything else in life. Not only will you feel happier and more centered on a daily basis, you won’t grow to resent your passion because it sucks the life out of you.

You will accomplish more in less time with short, focused bursts of activity, rather than depleting your energy with longer, watered-down work sessions.

Take it from someone who learned the hard way: less is more. Be reasonable about the amount of time you devote to your passion(s), and leave room for your other priorities like your health and your family. You’ll enjoy the journey to success much more.

Show Me the Money

It’s right around this time that I think we need a quick reminder about something I mentioned in another blog post.


Just as happiness is not about money, neither is success about money.

Do yourself a favor and:

  • Don’t choose your passion because of the money it can bring you.
  • Don’t overwork and exhaust yourself in an effort to earn more money.
  • Don’t focus on what you stand to gain from sharing your passion with the world.

Such requests may sound counterproductive since abundant financial rewards are undoubtedly one indication of success.

Read that last sentence again, especially the part that reads, “… abundant financial rewards are undoubtedly ONE INDICATION of success.”

Did you get that? Money does not guarantee success, but is rather a side-effect of success (and a rather welcome one, at that!).

The reason I don’t want you to focus on the money angle is because it will dilute your focus. You begin worrying about what you will “get” rather than what you can contribute to others. That might not seem like a big deal, but it is.

There is an old saying that everything you do is infused with your energy. We might clarify that to say everything you do is infused with the QUALITY of your energy. Think about this for a moment and you’ll realize the truth of such a statement.

Have you ever done a task out of sheer obligation but your heart wasn’t in it? Perhaps you wrote a report for school, or completed a project at work, or even attended an event because your spouse wanted to go but you had zero interest in it.

What happened with those activities? The report or project was likely passable as far as quality goes, but it probably didn’t have any “oomph” did it? And what of the event you attend for someone else’s benefit? You probably spent the majority of time bored out of your mind and didn’t take anything valuable away from the experience.

There’s a good reason for this: you did not put forth high quality energy, so you ended up with lukewarm results. And the same thing will happen with your level of success!

You might be thinking, “Great! If I put a lot of energy into the thought of money, I’ll get a lot of money back!” Actually, no. It’s not about the specific thoughts you are thinking, but the quality of ENERGY you are putting out.

If you focus on what you stand to gain, you are detracting from what you plan to give. That means that you are not putting anything of value out there into the world, and you will therefore experience lackluster results with whatever you do.

Ask yourself why successful people all seem to passionately love what they do for a living, and you’ll be moving in the right direction!


You can’t get what you don’t ask for…

Here at The Zen of Profit, we’re on a mission to help you break free from your mental money prison and live the life you truly deserve.

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Lee Ann

Cognitive linguist, certified money mindset coach, affirmation and manifestation geek, and inner speech communication specialist.

"What's your brain telling you about your potential?"
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