Hard Work vs. Long Work by Seth Godin
Long work is what the lawyer who bills 14 hours a day filling in forms does.
Hard work is what the insightful litigator does when she synthesizes four disparate ideas and comes up with an argument that wins the case–in less than five minutes.
Long work has a storied history. Farmers, hunters, factory workers… Always there was long work required to succeed. For generations, there was a huge benefit that came to those with the stamina and fortitude to do long work.
Hard work is frightening. We shy away from hard work because inherent in hard work is risk. Hard work is hard because you might fail. You can’t fail at long work, you merely show up. You fail at hard work when you don’t make an emotional connection, or when you don’t solve the problem or when you hesitate.
I think it’s worth noting that long work often sets the stage for hard work. If you show up enough and practice enough and learn enough, it’s more likely you will find yourself in a position to do hard work.
It seems, though that no matter how much long work you do, you won’t produce the benefits of hard work unless you are willing to leap.