I just read an interesting article by Joe at Retire by 40 on work hard, play hard. In the article Joe gives his personal definition of what it means to work hard, play hard and what the phrase means to him. Although I may have different illusions of what the term means to me, Joe highlights the fact that everyone will have their own personal definitions and meaning to the term. In fact, I’ve thought a lot about these issues, I thought I would share my philosophies on work and play.
For me work is what we do to make money. For most people, there is an economic reality where we NEED money to survive, live and have some fun. The idea that having fun does not have to cost money is real but a little utopist to me. Most people have to work to get a paycheque and that paycheque is then used to balance between living for the now and providing for your future.
For me playing is what you do outside of work. In a traditional working environment, it’s what you do in the evenings, weekends and on your vacation time. Play can be interpreted as anything you want. For Joe it’s “partying hard”. For others, it may be about sports, travel, hobbies, socialization, meditation, self actualization, or anything you want it to mean. Right now play for me is coaching my kids in soccer, taking the kids to the swimming pool and going for a nice dinner with my wife.
Work Hard, play hard
In my opinion, the order makes sense. It’s great to play but how can we play if we don’t work. It sounds great, but reality for most people is a little different.
Sometimes we see people playing more than working (that’s the traditional retirement concept) but before you can get there, you had to work first.
Work less, play more
Joe makes an interesting comment “Work hard so you can achieve financial security. This means get rid of debt and build your net worth. If you are at it long enough, you can shoot for financial independence. Invest in income generating assets instead of playing hard and in time, your investment will be able to pay for your living expenses. That’s why I worked hard for many years – so I can work less and live more today.”
Again, it’s important for people to understand that playing hard or playing more is a reward from working and the harder you work, the sooner you may be able to enjoy.
For me, Joe’s theory is the new retirement model. Retirement used to be an ‘off the cliff’ event where you worked and then you retired (jumped off the cliff into retirement). Today, more and more people are experiencing a transitional or phased retirement where they make keep working but they may work less and play more.
Work smarter, not harder
This concept is similar but different. It came from the productivity era where assembly lines allowed things to be more efficient. Later, the technology era suggested that computers and technology would make our lives simpler and easier so we did not have to work as hard.
Personally, I think this is crazy and my goal is to teach my kids to work harder and smarter.
I’ve met a lot of successful people in my time and I can’t think of one that got to where they are without working hard. Working hard is about paying your dues and we all have to pay our dues. We all have to contribute. You can’t work smarter, live better, play harder without first working hard. It may not be what you want to hear but it’s my truth!