Maximum Effort, Minimum Gain

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“It takes relentless self-discipline to schedule suffering into your day, every day, but if you do, you’ll find that at the other end of that suffering is a whole other life just waiting for you.” — David Goggins.

Let’s set the record straight here once and for all. I am officially not in the “4 Hour Work Week” school of thought. Nope, not me.


I have never known anything worthwhile to be built on the back of a 4 hour work week.

Have you?

The 4 Hour Work Week is selling you a ticket to your own destruction, and you will buy it, excitedly, thinking you are doing something smart.

Now I am not against smart planning, good moves and good logistics. But there is a problem here: The promotion of the ideal of the “easy life”.

Minimum effort, maximum gain baby!

How seductive it sounds! It’s almost like a credit card. “Have it all now, pay for it later” – applied to your entire life!


Why work hard? Only stupid people do that. You could be SMARTER THAN THEM and just…. outsource all of it! Yay! Hire someone more impoverished than you and just hand the work over to them. Done! They will unburden you… and you can go to the beach!

Now I love freedom, but at a certain point you have to ask yourself “Freedom to do what?” and perhaps even more importantly “Freedom to BECOME what?”

Because what you do is what you become.

On his rise to stardom, legendary concert pianist Franz Liszt practiced all day. He would not even go to meals, receiving his food at the door and returning to the piano.

The result of his self-imposed hours of torturous scales and repetitive exercises? He is now widely regarded as perhaps the greatest pianist who ever lived. He once wrote in a letter to a friend:

“…my mind and fingers have been working away like two lost spirits… Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; and in addition I spend 4 to 5 hours practicing exercises (thirds, sixths, octaves, tremolos, repeated notes, cadenzas, etc. etc.) Ah! Provided I don’t go mad you will find an artist in me! Yes, an artist such as you desire, such as is required nowadays!”

Now – do you think he would have left a lasting legacy if he had adopted instead the principles of the 4-Hour Work Week?

No. It would never have happened. He would have been a nobody. A nothing.


We would not even know his name.

Franz Liszt is not an isolated case. ALL the greats pushed the needle way into the red with their level of effort. We can observe everywhere that people who have had true success have always had an incredible work ethic. From Leonardo Da Vinci to Elon Musk, we see greatness forged by a willingness to embrace sheer industry and pure will power that outpaces the entire field and leads from the front.

Sure, you can make some lazy money. You could do that. But think about what happens when you while you are “enjoying life” and working your 2-hour day.

Not only are you not growing and not improving, but you are going backwards.

You are coasting and becoming ever more accustomed to taking the easy option in everything you do. The result? You get progressively softer and weaker.

Then, all too soon, the easy ride is over (this always happens, I promise you)… and you are washed up on the shore.

You abdicated. And now your competition is eating your lunch.

I know that these kinds of post are not the way to an easy, fast, successful blog.

Because nobody wants to read this. Nobody wants some preachy article telling them “It is insanely difficult and you will suffer and be tormented and beat down again and again.” They want someone to tell them “It’s easy. Just buy my course, work 20 mins per day, then you are done! Congratulations, pop in your credit card number and you can go to the beach.”

Who could blame you? I love the beach too.

I’ve done both. In my early 20’s I explored the slacker lifestyle. I went to festivals. I partied. I did all sorts of things, some of which I am not proud of.

Net result? Sure, I had a fun ride for a while, and it would be hard for me to argue against experiencing the freewheelin’ lifestyle at least once in your life. Some fantastic memories…. but in truth, nothing tangible was built during that time. And when you are older, you will probably find yourself looking back and wishing you had made different choices. More than anything else, I regret every health damaging thing I did in that period of youthful folly. This matters, I can promise you. Anything that harms your health and wastes precious time will be deeply regretted and will not seem worth it any more. I ended up broke, struggling, unhealthy, confused… and I had to build everything I have now from the ground up.

Nothing I achieved since then came the easy way. It came on the other side of a wall of monumental effort, 16 hour work days and suffering.

Time to flip it around.

If you seek maximum effort, minimum gain – what happens?

Yes, you will struggle. Yes, you will suffer. But what will become of YOU?

You will become stronger. Tougher. More skilled. More knowledgeable.

You will be forged in the fire of your industry into the best version of yourself you could possibly be.

And that is the foundation of all true success.

What would you prefer? The shortcut to the big house on the hill, or to be forged from tempered steel?

Those are your options.

I do believe that a huge subset of the problems of our entire civilization are based on this modern “entitled” thinking surrounding “minimal effort, maximal gain”. Society is advocating this kind of behavior! People are, sadly, seduced nowadays by the idea of taking the shortcut – and it’s become a “cultural norm”.

Everyone wants to stick it to the man and be in the big house on the hill asap. We are trained to see that as “goals”. Arguing that it is not in fact goals, is going to meet with a wall of protest!

Let me be clear about something. I am not arguing against entrepreneurship and being your own boss. I am just arguing against the idea that this is going to be an easy ride.

I am also not against outsourcing. I do it. But I do it so that I can work on other stuff.

I totally get why people want to “stick it to the man”. We were all born into a system that doesn’t give a fuck about us and wants to enslave us.

Just be sure that when you are sticking it to the man, you are not sticking it to yourself. Think about it.

You can make amazing money with an internet based business. Money that blows out of the water what you could earn with a job. There is truly no glass ceiling on the internet. But just prepare yourself mentally. If you want a better view, you have to climb a higher mountain. Real success is going to be a serious climb with vertical rock faces and going way beyond your comfort zone again and again and again.

And if you want lasting success in business, you need to deliver higher value than the competition. You can’t deliver value without effort – and so all those “fake guru courses” telling you that you can get rich without delivering genuine, competitive value, are lying to you.

How much genuine value are you really going to create on four hours per week?

Not much.

Go against these ideas if you want. Go for it! Take the day off! A year off!

But just remember: While you are doing this, your competition is out there, putting in maximum effort. Working longer hours than you. Grinding harder than you.

Who’s gonna win?

It’s obvious isn’t it.

Getting too much, too easily is not an advantage. It makes you soft, weak and lazy and you never reach your maximum potential.

Who’s still here? That’s who I want on my team. The ones who are ready to tear down the walls to true success with their bare hands if need be. Let’s go!!

Now get out there and make today count.

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