Hard Work Requires Innovating, Not Complaining

I was watching Lionel Ritchie recount his hard days becoming a singer. He talked about his days driving through the south in a beat-up station wagon with the Commodores sleeping in cars (i.e., the whole group at times), eating horrible food, and sometimes not even eating, while trying to make it as a singing group. He never once called it hard work. He said: “Man, I am still hustling everyday just like when I first started, except for more people know me.”

Hard work is interesting because it can unmask new opportunities for new markets, new products, and new sales. Or it can tell you you’re smart to avoid those markets or opportunities. However, it might also reveal how unrealistic your work ethic might be in life.

In most groups, there are a ton of people looking for “Easy.” All the marketing in evidence today pampers the mind with the word “Easy,” and all the best marketing and psychological theories purposely preach using the word “Easy” in all your advertising or marketing.

Just pursuing hard work with innovation in mind is really the key! I remember “Doorknocking” in East Oakland to sell my first house. I still remember that first door I knocked on in East Oakland on 106th Avenue just like yesterday. Of course, I am not telling people to pursue crazy entrepreneurial ventures, but thank you Uber, Evernote, Shoeboxed, and Apple for pursuing hard markets and niches. Just think, at one point years ago, Steve Jobs was begging Microsoft to create software for them!

Just think of all the hard work Steve Jobs pursued in rebuilding Apple a second time? Wow! When I meet entrepreneurs who complain about “hard work,” I question whether they’ve got the guts, passion, or innovation to problem solve? The CEO at Uber made it hip for you to order a taxi from your cell phone. The people at Shoeboxed said, send me your files, we will scan them for you—imagine how much work that is!

At the end of the day your ability to problem solve is the culprit at times, not “hard work.” Usually, your bank account will tell you how lazy you have been! In closing, instead of perceiving situations as “hard work,” maybe you need to become a better problem solver! That’s what Jobs did, my friend!



Jonathan Fleming is SF Bay Area Real Estate Broker, he runs Jonathan Fleming & Associates living in Oakland, California, he leads technology groups Localpreneurs and EastBay Startups, cutting edge technology groups. Blogger, In demand Speakers and author on real estate and technology