In his book Magick Without Tears, Aleister Crowley wrote to one of his students:
"An ounce of your practice is worth a ton of my teaching."
Crowley made this comment in response to all the questions she had been peppering him with. His point to her was that the questions were a way from distracting herself from doing the "hard work."
But the hard work he meant isn't what we would think of as hard work. He wasn't referring to studying for countless hours or working a 10-hour per day job.
The hard work Crowley counseled his student to perform was the work of controlling her own mind. The second hardest thing for any human to do, IMO, is to admit that they choose their own thoughts; the hardest is to choose new ones.
Aleister Crowley was notoriously in favor of breaking societal norms. I perceive that he lived his life that way to demonstrate in the extreme what every person seeking enlightenment needs to do: excavate their mind to remove every unnecessary rule that they live by.
That is the hard work but also the most rewarding: taking charge of your own mind.