The man who can truly motivate, discipline, and work himself to 100% of his productive capacity is rare. It's hard to estimate the number, because I don't know anyone that truly sustains that level of performance day-in and day-out.
What percent of people do that?
It's hard to say. If you were working as focused and as hard as you could, very consistently, you'd hit the upper reaches of your growth curve and stay on it. Yet, when you benchmark performance, you see that most people are not doing as well as they could be.
Crude metrics like sales calls, deals worked on, words written, features created, and so on, would show most people don't put in the focused effort they could.
Likewise, subjective ratings of effort on a daily basis would likely show the same thing. If you got down to the nitty-gritty of tracking time, the picture gets even bleaker. How many days do you actually put in a focused effort of 10+ hours without distraction or screwing around?
Excuses abound on why great performance doesn't happen, and some of them are even somewhat valid. But even when you've got a project of pure love and passion, how often do you get into a great flow and rip off a 10-hour highly focused work spree? Rarely, eh?
After working for yourself for an extended period of time unsupervised, it becomes easier to understand why the traditional corporate structure is set up the way it is with executives, middle managers, and employees. When you have a project or task that has no external accountability at all that will take at least a couple weeks to complete, the chances that you refrain from screwing around and just get quickly to work are... well, at times it can be pretty abysmal. And that's even among the people who venture out into the self-directed, self-managed, purely-self-accountable realm.
Thus, there's a tremendous value in external accountability. Someone who will check up on you.
Yet, even then, how often are you procrastinating the running down of your tasks, and wasting time grinding away before you get into it?
And the worst part of it might be that the procrastination time isn't even enjoyable, fun, or pleasant. It's just a natural human thing.
Literally, sitting next to someone who is just as invested in the same thing, and checking up on each other.
"What are you doing now? Are you working?"
It's insufferable, to some extent. But also incredibly liberating. "Can I screw around? No, I'm really truly held accountable. I should just working."
If you're working on something you broadly like, or with people you broadly like, and your work serves your goals... then most likely, you actually like it when you get down to work. The answer might be to grab some accountability for your company, freelancing, project, or creative endeavor. And if you try it, try real-time accountability. It's one of the most effective things I've found for putting in highly focused, high quality, highly positive and productive hours.
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