Avoid falling for this popular, yet terrible, advice.

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Wow. That’s terrible advice. I’ve seen some version of this image making its way around social media. It seems like it should be true—but it isn’t.

Hard work is essential, but it must be the right kind of hard work. The most successful people I know—speaking both professionally AND personally—often do the OPPOSITE of everything this image tells you to do.

Let me explain:

❌ “Late nights” – Working long hours perpetuates sloppy productivity. It degrades work performance over time. Instead, establish a finish line for your working hours, which will force you to discover ways to work smarter and improve your processes.

❌ “Early mornings” – This may or may not be accurate, depending upon your time management style. Find the optimal times of day to do your best work, then build your schedule around those hours.

❌ “Very few friends” – The opposite is true. The most successful people recognize the importance of other people in their success. No one makes it to the top on their own. Make time to build relationships with friends and family; not only will it improve the quality of your life, but it will increase the odds of future success.

❌ “Being misunderstood” – It’s human to feel misunderstood. We ALL experience this to some degree, regardless of where we are in our career path. But the real problem with this statement is that it puts a person’s focus in the wrong place: self-pity. Instead, try to become someone who understands others. Your empathy and appreciation of human nature will contribute to your success.

❌ “Feeling overwhelmed” – When you attempt to do too many things at once, you shortchange your capacity to do anything well. Instead, use focus to reduce overwhelm. Say “no” more often than you say “yes.” As much as possible, limit your time and attention to your Most Valuable Activities.

❌ “Questioning your sanity” – This is a dangerous suggestion. The reality is that the people who are most successful prioritize their mental health. They welcome counseling—even therapy when necessary. When they become more personally grounded, they can better achieve success in all aspects of life.

❌ “Being your own cheerleader” – Accountability to a third party is critical to long-term success. Find someone you trust who can lead you toward success, such as a mentor or a coach. Be open to their guidance, feedback, and—yes—praise as you make progress.

I’ve created a revised image that lists the true price of lasting success below the old one. Feel free to share!

You can experience balanced success not just in the future…but right NOW. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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If you need help with any—or all—of the advice I’ve offered above, you may find my courses on LinkedIn Learning helpful. You can see all of them at davecrenshaw.com/learn.