Hard Work Is Not A Marketing Scheme: You’re Supposed To Do That

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Hard Work Is Not A Marketing Scheme - Dre BaldwinI traveled to this basketball tryout once, and I saw a dude there who I knew from back home. Me and this guy, we’ll call him Luis, had played together and against each other before in various leagues and pickup games. Luis was/is a guy with quite an aggressive attitude, which in itself is not an issue to me. There were two major issues I did have with Luis, though:

  1. He wanted the ball all the time, and wanted to be a major factor in whatever happened for the team.
  2. He was very vocal, always pushing and admonishing and directing his teammates verbally and quite loudly, so everyone in the gym could hear him.

The reason these were issues? Luis was not a very good player.

His aggression and verbosity were merely a front for his lack of ability — a show. I didn’t like playing with Luis and preferred playing against him, since I knew his presence lessened his team’s chances of winning.

The funny thing with Luis was that a lot of people couldn’t see through the bullshit — they pegged him as a “leader” and “heart of” his team, ignoring the fact that he wasn’t an effective player. This always bothered me about him, but in the long run of several years, Luis faded away and didn’t do much in basketball.

I share that story as a backdrop to say this: When you don’t have the credibility, spare us the show.

I receive emails or tweets of Facebook messages from people all the time who want to tell me how much work they do. I shoot this many shots. I have all of these skills. I spent this many hours practicing all summer. It’s not impressive, and you’re supposed to be doing the work, stupid. As Chris Rock said, “there’s no reward for doing what you’re supposed to do!

When all of those things about your work ethic are true, your results — what you do when it’s time to play your hand — will speak for you. I’m not a fan of Look-How-Hard-I-Work showcasing, especially when it’s coming from someone who has nothing to show for all this “hard work” they’ve been doing. Luis is just an example, but I am sure you have known someone who is just like this is some other field of life.

If you’re good at it, Look-How-Hard-I-Work showcasing could gain you some fans. Some people can be fooled by even the most obvious ruses. But having fans and being respected (especially by the people who have done the work you’re showcasing, lived the things you’re talking about) are two distinctly different things. You cannot buy respect with fans. Eventually, someone will demand to see what cards you’re holding, and that will be that.

It piques my curiosity to see anyone parade themselves as having stripes that they clearly haven’t earned. But I’m not one to rant against people as if I am some culture-protecting purist. I’ve learned that the long tail of results always wins the race. Working hard, or at least appearing to, means nothing when it’s time to lay out the results.

Judgment Day awaits you.