Does success require stress and hard work as a means to reach your goal? I say no, and there is even objective neuroscience to support my belief and experience. "Hard work and stress" is a type of paradigm or mindset.

I have had conversations with several people over time regarding whether obtaining peace of mind was a hazard to ambition. I have read articles that argue that if we become peaceful we will become complacent. It is this type of belief that drives hard work as a social construct.

From a brain standpoint, the left-brain will initially tend to thrive under this perception. I say perception, as perception really does create reality. Perception is 'how' we see life. It is the filter through which we create and respond to the world. It is subjective, not objective. The left-brain loves external world action-taking.

I say that it initially thrives on this action-taking because if we focus too much on activity without slowing down to reflect and rest, we will burn out; then work will indeed feel hard and we will be stressed.

Now here's the apparently little known double-edged sword: excessive stress and hard work without rest and restoration damages our brain. Chronic stress is even associated with memory loss and disease. How do you think this will impact your productivity in the long run?

Can you see that loss of wellbeing and memory can lead to increased overhead costs, as in increased health bills and higher absenteeism? How about employee turnover due to frustration? The truth is, people perform better when they are happier. We need to include space for reflection and creativity in our workplace.

Finally, the field of psychology has changed to focus on 'positive psychology', which is more constructive and gives people the information and knowledge to develop more of their true potential instead of focusing on dis-ease and what is so-called wrong with us. It's not that we are defective; we simply need to learn and grow to reach more of our true potential.

Human beings are more motivated by a heart-felt passionate cause or purpose than by carrots and sticks. This is especially true for innovative or creative work. Smart people want to learn and expand their vision. Smart people need inspiration and a sense of contribution and meaning.

Work will be more enjoyable and the workplace more productive when society changes the paradigm of work from being hard to fulfilling and enjoyable, and a way to develop and grow personally and professionally. We can change our perception of work in a way that works for us to be more fulfilled and feel good about going in on Monday morning.

Yet, to do this we must understand how to rewire our perceptions and start to see life as friendly and less of a struggle. Notice what Einstein says: "One of the most important decisions we make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe."

Notice, it's a "decision." Are you willing to change your perception of work so that work takes on a more healthy and productive connotation? So that it can be less stressful and more fulfilling? Change can begin simply by intending to learn how to, and to find out more about retraining your brain, instead of continuing the status quo. Here's another opportunity to really innovate. Will you go for it?

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at