When people say “work smarter, not harder” they may be leading you into a trap. The smarter version of the work does not always have the same output as the harder version. Working “smarter” can be a way to avoid doing the hard stuff that needs to be done.
Sometimes working harder is the only option. If you want to lay a brick wall, you have to do it brick by brick. Or in the words of Anne Lamont’s father when talking about writing a report on birds, you have to do it “bird by bird”.
There is value and fulfillment in hard work. The feeling of accomplishment is sometimes worth doing things the hard way, even when there is a shortcut available.
Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”