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Nimis's avatar

Does your hardest effort produce your best work?

Asked by Nimis (13088 points ) October 9th, 2012 from iPhone

For me, if I’m working too hard it’s usually a sign that something isn’t working. Lots of banging my head against a wall.

How does it work for you?

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15 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes it flows. Or feels like it’s flowing. Sometimes nothing seems to go right. I can’t solve the problems. When I’m banging my head against the wall, it’s usually because I can’t figure something out. When it flows, it’s because, well, it flows.

But I see no correlation between flow and head banging and good or bad work. Others judge my work, and sometimes they tell me work is good when I think it is bad, and sometimes they say it is bad when I think it is good. Sometimes we agree on what it is.

But that’s just judgment. It rarely is correlated with anything that matters in life, as far as I can tell. And no matter how people judge me, it rarely changes the course of my life.

I do what I do. I keep on doing it. I try to enjoy doing it. And if I can’t enjoy what I do, I try to find a way to switch to doing what I enjoy. So no. Hardness and quality have absolutely no relationship in my life.

tups's avatar

With writing, for example, it quite the opposite. When you have to force it, it sucks. I guess some things are better if worked hard for, but I must admit I don’t really like hard work.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Not really. I mean if I work hard at something it shows in the result but if I have to put a TON of effort into something and work really really hard I usually end up getting stressed out during the process and ending up with a sloppy end result.

marinelife's avatar

My best work usually comes when I am “in flow”.

Shippy's avatar

Love this question, I was thinking about this the other day.For me though, your question is multidimensional. I have realized I am of the school of thought that says, hard work and great effort equals results. This hasn’t been the case lately. I have found going with the flow produces better results. Both with my attitude and with focused work projects.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yea, as others have said, when I just “go with the flow” of things that’s really when my best results come out. When it’s a project or something that I’m fully prepared for going into it and just let the work happen naturally without ever really having to stop and think about any one particular step along the way.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is understandable how you feel. If everyone truly thought about it, they would agree with you. Here is where the confusion comes into play:

Talents We all have tasks that we master. They are completed because we have to. On occasion, they are assigned to us because we do it well or it is part of our responsibility, be it in a work or home environment. It doesn’t mean that we enjoy doing it.

Strengths There are tasks that we truly enjoy doing. Time flies in the process. It almost feels as if we should pay to be able to do it. Why? Because there is a level of self-satisfaction that comes from it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are great at accomplishing these tasks; only that there is personal enjoyment from the effort that goes into it.

Here is an example. I used to be a hotel inspector. The days were long and a trip lasted for two weeks straight. While not the best of our group, the reviews were positive because I gave it my best. It became a talent.

Then I was assigned to train new inspectors. That’s when I felt like I was in the zone. Our supervisor saw how much I enjoyed training and tapped into that strength by allowing me to utilize it. Approval was given to develop an initial training program before throwing the new members out to the wolves. It included traveling with the newbies for a month before giving approval to cut them loose.

While there are other factors to consider, if you find yourself constantly banging your head against the wall, it may be time to switch gears.

Bellatrix's avatar

It depends on the context but if it is some form of intellectual work, no. I need to clear my mind and allow time to think rather than ‘working hard’ at whatever it is I am trying resolve/contemplate. I actually find going for a walk, or sitting in the garden helps to give me the mental quiet to think through problems.

When I have a deadline and it isn’t ‘flowing’, I just start writing about whatever the problem/topic is. The first, and sometimes second, drafts of my work are often brain storming sessions. I will then rework the material. It’s really getting my knowledge and ideas down on paper. The writing process does help me to focus and at first it can be a bit like ‘pulling teeth’ but as my brain frees up, and my thoughts start to flow, the work improves.

What sort of ‘work’ is it you are trying to produce?

stardust's avatar

I’m trying really hard to produce something at the moment and it’s working against me if anything. When I’m relaxed and in my zone, I produce my best work. Usually when I’m trying so hard, it’s for the benefit of another. I’ll stop trying tomorrow and try to enjoy the process and report back.

MilkyWay's avatar

@uberbatman Summed it up for me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If I let my mind go free I sometimes come up with the most amazing answers to things. I don’t mind hard work but my most creative things come out of the blue.

augustlan's avatar

It depends on the kind of work it is. If it’s creative or intellectual, my best work happens when I’m really in the mood for it. As others have said, I get in the zone and it seems effortless. This is why I have a hard time getting a painting to come out easily if I’m on a deadline (making one for a present, for example). If I find it very difficult to get started, sometimes diving in anyway solves the problem. If not, and the going is still hard, I take a break and come back refreshed.

If it’s physical work, like sanding a piece of furniture or cleaning a bathroom, then the harder I work the better my result. I still have to know what I’m doing, so I can work smart instead of just hard, but hard does come into play.

Sunny2's avatar

Hard work on the preparation and a relaxed flow in performance works best for me.

Coloma's avatar

Definitely a flow person here. I do my best work when fully engaged with whatever it is. The more it captures my interest the better the result. If I can;t get something right, I take a break and come back to it later refreshed.

downtide's avatar

Not at all, for me. If I’m working hard it means I’m trying to do something I’m not sufficiently skilled at. My best work comes naturally, at things I’m skilled in, with little effort.

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