Words By Demar Jackson
Every day, I wake up at a very early hour. I brush my teeth, grab my workout clothes for my spin classes, and drive up to my spin studio. Even though this may be hard for some people, overall, this is simply a habit of mine. I do these same repetitive tasks on a daily basis because it's required of me. I also do these same repetitive tasks on a daily basis because it's now my routine, my habit. But habits don't always lead to progress; hard work is necessary for that equation.
One of my favorite shows to watch is a sports talk show called Undisputed. Within this show, Shannon Sharpe, a former NFL player and Hall of Famer, once stated, “A lot of people mistake habit for hard work. Doing something over and over again is not working hard.” Just because we may wake up early, get to the gym and exercise, doesn’t mean that we used our allotted time efficiently or with intensity. To work hard means that you are giving up comfort to gain results. If there is no hard work at play, then there’s probably no progress being made either.
To me, hard work is not just about achieving physical results; it can also be about mental results, emotional results, occupational results, and beyond. There's going to be a certain level of work needed that's going to be outside of your comfort zone to reach that desired level you wish to obtain. Everyone wants to be successful. However, not everyone wants to make sacrifices and take away from parts of life that they enjoyed to put in the extra work needed.
With hard work comes discipline. The strength you must have to be mentally strong and disciplined to work hard towards something takes effort and energy. You’re actively going against the grain in your own life to make something happen. Whereas for a habit, once you have been doing something long enough, your mind no longer has to push you to do it, and it takes no excess energy or effort to fulfill.
Something that I continuously say in my spin classes to keep riders wanting more out of their own experience and to understand hard work is, "Every next level in your life requires a next-level version of yourself." Without wanting more, people may be stuck in a habitual state where they're stagnant and not progressing. Inversely it's important to remember that with progress comes hard work.