The Myth of Effort

Reward is independent of effort.

November 22, 2022

Our world rewards effectiveness, not hard work. It doesn’t matter how you get to a destination, as long as you get to that destination. In a just society, this is what happens.

Yes, hard work and deliberate practice are required to get good at one thing. So good that you can produce work that is valued by others. But for the final piece of work, no one cares how long it took you to create it. All others care about is the quality of your work, how good it is. Effort doesn’t matter. Effectiveness does.

So what does effectiveness mean? Google says “the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success.”. To me, effectiveness is really all about knowing what to do, how to do it, while minimizing mistakes in the process.

How do you get effective? By building up experience. How do you do that? Well, by trying different things and working hard. But hard work is not what is rewarded by society. It’s always effectiveness. However, it is true that in many cases hard work is implicitly rewarded through the means of effective work. But don’t make the mistake of tricking yourself into believing that hard work is what explicitly pays off, it does not.