To be great at your job, you have to embrace the grind. But the very word implies pulverizing something into nothing, as if with every type of your keyboard, your fingers flake away until work has consumed your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and chest.
Sorry! Don’t think about that visual!
Here’s a better one, by Joey Roth, that imagines the grind not as a platform for powder, but as the step-by-step means to ascension.
"This poster is inspired by my developing realization that the most valuable tool anyone has is their grind—represented in the poster as steps carved into an incline," Roth explains. "I’m not talking about the daily grind: doing work you don’t like or care about. By grind I mean a combination of work ethic and improvised strategy that becomes a daily ritual and ensures progression or improvement over time, regardless of an individual day or even week’s outcome."
Roth’s perspective reminds me quite a bit of that of Thomas Keller, who distinguishes the importance of passion from desire when facing the grind. Roth simply draws the line in a slightly different place in the sand, between dreaming and working.
"Dreaming about reaching the same goal is easier and faster in the beginning, but doesn’t provide the same ritualized framework. The more a dream is exposed to reality, the more it needs this framework—grind," Roth explains. "On the poster, the "dream" ramp becomes progressively steeper the closer it gets to the goal, like Sisyphus rolling his stone."
For those of you interested in the more intellectual motivational poster, Roth has two other fantastic prints. One breaks down work as a bullet—the gunpowder is risk, and the point is humility—and the other compares charlatans, martyrs, and hustlers, Indexed-style. (The hustlers have the best showing.)
Each print is available for $35.