Don't ever be 'the hardest worker' in the room

If you are the hardest worker in the room – you are in the wrong room…

I have to say this first because there will be people that think “Great I don’t have to work hard anymore” well, you do. With this sentence above I don't say you should work less hard, it actually means you should work even harder – but let me explain. 

So a little example from myself and how I came up with this idea… I go to the gym around 4-6 times a week, and I am (In my opinion, and the opinion of my personal trainer) one of the hardest workers in this particular gym. I go all in, even if I currently diet and haven’t even had a single thing to eat that day, and that always. No matter if I don’t feel like training, have pain in my body or feel tired – I always force myself to beat my last training with weight & reps, I am always in competition with my previous self, and I win every damn time. 

Sounds awesome! But is it? 

Well, I thought so. The problem is this: Human nature & logic is to say “that’s enough” and just go with the pace. After all: 1. You are one of the hardest workers and 2. Show constant progress – so why should you work harder? You are already thinking there is nothing you could do more.

If you are the hardest worker in the room, you get too comfortable with your pace.

How I realized this? Well, today I went to the gym and easily beat my previous training by far. I was working hard and felt good. Then I realized who surrounded me….

  • Some 60 year olds that escape their marriage and just go talk to other 60 year olds in the gym, to then say to their wife “Honey, I trained 3 hours today”
  • Some Students that skip leg day because “You don’t see ya legs in da club”
  • 9-5 People that haven’t achieved anything but the gym makes them feel better about themselves since they may get a bit of muscle mass (Maybe it's the missing power they have in their life that they try to compensate...)

What they have in common? Most of them actually don’t want to progress.

  • The old guys just hang out there because they are sick of spending their days at home with their wife, and heard from their doctor it would be good to at least go on the treadmill once in a while to not completely lose the ability to move.
  • Then the students where most of them don’t even want to be here, because group think lead to the idea to go to the gym together. They also just think benching once in a while and eating bananas with peanut butter will get them muscle - which will in turn get them girls (Hint: It won’t.)
  • And then of course the 9-5 people that kind of want to progress – but never actually do, because of their comfort zone. And last category is wild – I see people visiting this gym the last 3 years and look exactly the same: But they do complain about not gaining muscle, and then move on talking about getting wasted on weekends while training Chest only on Mondays for 2 hours straight. (Maybe not progressing in the gym is because you snored cocaine off of someones girlfriends ass last Saturday and then getting chlamydia? - But who am I to judge...)

Almost nobody in this gym is making any progress – and almost nobody in this gym is successful in their career and life. (That’s not a coincidence in my opinion)

Well, back to the actual topic: I believed it’s all good since I am the hardest worker, but analyzing my surrounding – nothing was good.

You can be the biggest fish in an aquarium – which doesn’t mean shit when all you are is a damn salmon surrounded by little ornamental fishies in a glass box.

Let me tell you: You don’t want to be the biggest fish in a little pond, you want to be the biggest shark across all oceans - but you won't become one by being comfortable being surrounded by averageness in that little box you call " your life".

Well, that was a long uppercut in your direction.

If you are surrounded by average people, doing average things – it’s not hard to actually be the hardest worker in the room. When I realized this - taking on my example - I thought about what it would be like to join a pure powerlifting & bodybuilding gym:

I would think I would be a miserable beginner and feel like shit training there!

Why that? Because those people that train there, have been eating chicken, rice & broccoli for the last 15 years straight, trained 4 hours each day, and always scream and slap each other in the face before doing their set. And - they would bench my personal record to warm up.

If I would go to such a gym, I would at first be intimidated. “All those people are bigger than me, stronger than me, more dedicated, more disciplined, more willing to put in the work…” vs. my current gym where I think “Damn, I am working harder than everybody else!”

Now, which one do you think will help me to progress more?

  • If you are the hardest worker in the room – you’ll get comfortable and you don’t see that you are actually could do more, because you are comparing yourself with people that are on a lower level of work ethic than you. (Meaning they work less hard, have less discipline – it doesn’t mean those people suck, it just means you shouldn’t compare yourself with them if you want to level up)

But if you aren’t the hardest worker in the room – you see that there is room for improvement. In my example, I would be intimidated at first seeing all those swole guys. But what happens is this: Instead of giving 100% for 45 minutes - I would train 1.5 hours and give everything. Instead of working out 4-6 times - I would go every day. Instead of ordering pizza - I would eat my meal prep. Instead of rest days – I would go for some HIIT training or Cardio...

I would go beyond what I thought was possible, because I now know I was just stuck in my comfort-zone - I was measuring myself with the wrong comparison group. I would now see best practices and could learn from people that are further than me to become a better version of myself - and eventually coming closer to the hardest worker in that particular room.

Now let’s quit the fitness example here and adjust it for life:

If you are the hardest worker in your office, your group of friends, wherever – you are doing less than you could, and I guarantee you that. If you would surround yourself with people doing more than you, you would see that you have been nowhere close to what's possible, making you committed to work harder than ever.

  • Someone that works 12 hours a day - thinks he/she works hard... Until he/she meets someone working 16 hour days.
  • Someone that works-out 7 times a week - thinks he/she works hard... Until he/she meets a bodybuilder who trains 2 times a day.
  • ...

Here’s another example for it that will inspire you to go out of your comfort zone:

You and your top 10 friends are all salespeople in the same big company. All your friends earn approximately 5.000 $ a month (with that, they are already above average considering the average salary in the company) and you, as the top salesperson, earn 10.000$. You will think you are the shit – that you are the most awesome guy/girl in your company.

Do you think you would see the need to earn 20K, 50K or 100K a month? Do you think you would see what it takes to earn 20K, 50K, or 100K a month? Do you think you know how to make 20K, 50K, or 100K a month? The answer is no!

But what happens if all your 10 friends were earning 100K a month, while you are earning 10K? You will ask how they do it, you’ll ask if they can show it to you, you’ll do everything to come close to that 100K – because you probably feel like shit earning “only” 10K.

Important: Change up the comparison group to people that are further than you - If you are the hardest worker in the room, change the room you are in. 

Let's out-hustle yesterday!

- Max, CEO of Mperior