In the modern economy, hard work is not a competitive advantage anymore. Hustle is important, but it takes more. A lot of people hustle. .

But here’s the secret no one talks about.

If you were to gather all the hardest working people in the world in one room, you wouldn’t find the top CEOs and entrepreneurs.

You would find the people who are struggling to make it up the ladder or struggling to survive at all. They’re working hard. They’re putting in the effort. Their burning the candle at both ends.  

The competitive advantage is actually found  in thinking exponentially, getting creative so you can  connect the right ideas with the right people and fresh opportunities.

But all work and no play equals business failure. Hustle alone isn’t enough.

Your Best Ideas Come Out of Play…not Work.

“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.” —Abraham Maslow

With that in mind, a week of sailing with friends could yield you more ideas, connections and perspective than a week of answering emails, catching up on paperwork and attending meetings.

Attending a thought provoking conference can create more benefits in a day than months of repetitive tasks.

Remember, the difference between the successful people on the planet is not functionality, it is vitality. The functional person performs a task well. The vital person does it with passion and even  joy.

In the last ten years we’ve seen machines and systems replace functionality in the workplace; however, we’re a long way from seeing the first machine that can compete with raw human vitality.

Vitality yields creativity and innovation. It produces leadership, boldness, and robustness under pressure. It leads to insights and breakthroughs. Software and machinery can can only do the stuff we call work.

Top Earners Don’t Consider What They Do to Be Work

They are playing a game that they love and they make sure that it stays fun. They exude a level of vitality for what they do and because they love it, they get good at it.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

The minute you begin to feel yourself working hard as opposed to playing a challenging game, it’s time to take a break or get around some new people.

  • Disappear for a week.
  • Get some sun.
  • Read up on your favorite role models.
  • Explore fresh ideas
  • Invest time with people who are “in their zone.”
  • Attend a new event that’s outside your usual circle of interest..
  • Read a new book.
  • Start new conversations.

More than anything, reconnect with your humanity. Beneath your desire to have a great home, a snappy wardrobe, and some money in the bank is a part of you that longs to make a difference, as well.

Getting in touch with this core part of you will give you an ongoing broadband connection to your vitality.

Success Isn’t About Engaging in a Struggle. It’s About Getting Into the Flow.

From a place of vitality, all the work comes easily, the ideas flow freely and the money comes in more effortlessly. An hour of inspiration is worth more than a week of drudgery. A day of play will do more for your career or business than a month of work.

You can’t expect things to change if you’re not willing to get out of your comfort zone. You need to surround yourself with fresh ideas, insightful people and inspiring places. You need to be part of a peer group that holds you to a higher standard.

You owe it to yourself to stop working so hard and to start living your life in a way that lights you, and others, up.

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” —Carl Jung

5 Questions to Kickstart Your Creativity and Bring Profitable Ideas to Life

1. What would I love to do this week if I couldn’t work?

Your down time can be the best time to give your creativity a boost and work through a problem that has been unsolvable. What do you do on your downtime that recharges you?

Find a way to do more of that and you’ll likely shake something loose, creatively speaking.

2. Who would I love to spend more time with who I don’t normally see?

Just as time away from work can energize you, time with new or different people can energize you as well.

Who would you like to spend some time with that you don’t normally see. A change in surroundings and a change in conversation can be just what you need to stimulate your thinking.

3. Where would I love to be spending time this week if I wanted to be creative and adventurous?

Many people become creatures of habit: they eat the same breakfast, wear the same clothes, drive the same route to work, sit in the same chair in the conference room, talk to the same people, and think the same thoughts.

Is it any wonder why they become functional instead of vital?

Sometimes a change of scenery is necessary if you want to jumpstart your creativity and boost production. It doesn’t have to be crazy or expensive, but find a place to spend some time that shocks your system and raises your level of adventure.

4. How would I love to deliver more value to others if I didn’t need to worry about my schedule or my commitments?

The irony of success is that it grows in proportion to the effort you put into helping others. One of my mentor, Zig Ziglar’s most well-known quotes is: You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

In your business, how could you add 10X or even 100X value to your customers? Carve out a couple of hours in your schedule and spend some time brainstorming the answer. It might just cause you to reevaluate your commitments.

5. What difference would I love to make on the planet if I could just give my time and talent more freely?

Successful people are connected to their purpose. They understand that they have a very specific set of skills that only they can do and they maximize those skills every day. They understand that the world is better off because of the effort they put forth.

What are your specific skills? How do you help make a difference in the world? By the way, this doesn’t mean that you don’t make money in the process. High achievers find a way to discover a need and provide a solution that people will gladly pay for.

The Harder You Work, The Less You Earn

There are a lot of hard workers in the world, but if you want to become an influencer who makes a difference, the counterintuitive advice is be smart with where you spend your time.

Do the things that only you can do, that make the most impact, and you’ll experience the success that comes with it.

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