It’s Sunday. I just heard someone say “ugh, back to the grind”, as they got up to leave.
If you’re in America, after the big game is over tonight, you’re about 86% certain to hear someone say that same thing when they talk about what’s going on tomorrow.
It’s very easy to automatically fear “The Grind” as a dreadfully negative thing. And it definitely can be. Studies suggest more than half of Americans feel this way.
I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have been too at some point.
But what’s the answer then? Strive for the comfortable? Should we be looking for the career and life that throws the least resistance in our direction?
Maybe - I know a lot of people are looking for that. But that’s exactly how you stagnate.
Because if you’re not grinding, you’re not growing.
Ask anyone successful, and most will tell you that The Grind isn’t just necessary, but responsible for a good part of their wins.
It’s because grinding builds momentum. Even if the particular job, or project, or business never takes off quite like you hope, there’s just something about letting yourself get absorbed into your work - to care about it enough to endure frustration, self-doubt, ridicule, and failure. The universe seems to favor those bent on purposeful action. Beautiful things can happen in The Grind.
You could spend a year training for a marathon that you lose, but then find yourself in the best shape of your life.
You could spend months of late nights coding a web app that never gets any traction, but in doing so, make yourself enormously valuable to someone with a better idea and less skill.
You can push the limits of your craft, create something so unique that most people consider it ugly, but make yourself known as the only one that had the guts to try it.
If you’re brave enough to risk your life and fortune in a treacherous journey into the unknown, you may not ever get to Asia, but you might stumble upon a little-known American continent.
We shouldn’t be afraid of the Grind. We should look forward to it. Of course it sucks. It’s humbling, emotional, and downright unpleasant most of the time.
But you can love and hate it at the same time. I realize this every time someone asks me why I run so much. I just think…
I don’t love running. Sometimes I despise it. But I love having run. That love outweighs the dread of getting up and doing it in the freezing Boston morning.
My challenge to you (and to myself) is to make sure “The Grind” in life, whatever it is, is actually pushing you farther.
Genius is one-percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. - Thomas Edison