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Meet Jack…Working Harder or Working Smarter?

The Earlier the Better… Strategic Mindset.

Jack was able to get pretty far in life on sheer work ethic. He stayed up late, woke up early, and just got the job done. Lucky! But then after his army service he was back to studying and somehow the hard work was just not yielding results. Together we began to see that working harder isn’t always the solution. Sometimes we fail the test even if he have worked really really hard. Just because he sat front row in the lectures or didn’t miss a word in the Zoom session, took unending notes and read and reread and reread those notes again, doesn’t mean he performed well on the exam. It was time to change the approach to work smarter not harder!

New research by psychologist Patricia Chen suggests exactly that. In one experiment, Chen asked students to try a challenging, unfamiliar task, where they competed to separate more egg whites. Before beginning, half of the students read a short article about how successful people adopt a strategic mindset, periodically taking a step back from what they're doing to ask themselves questions like:

· How else can I do this?

· Are there things that I can do differently?

· Are there ways to do this even better?

The second half of the students jumped right in to the task. Students encouraged to adopt the strategic mindset tried more strategies and performed better.

So, yes a solid work ethic is something we want to acquire early in life. Yes, hard work when combined with a strategic mindset will enable us to approach challenges in a smarter way. So, the next time you feel frustrated by something, freeze. Ask yourself questions like…How else can I do this? Who can I ask for advice? Is there an approach I haven't thought of?"

And when at first you don't succeed, ask, ask again.

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