We naturally tend to look for the easy way out and follow the path of least resistance when attempting to achieve our goals. Paying the price and following due process seems to be a real pain. If we had our way, we would love to receive the prize without paying the price. Slogans like “Do not work hard, work smart” sound like music in our ears. We hope we can achieve the desired result by doing little or no work.
Many have taken this to mean that there is a lazy way to achieve success. If you tried these short cuts before, you know that nothing can be further from the truth. There is no lazy route to the top. For sure, effort can be wasted if not applied intelligently. Working smart should be the norm. Hard work comes into play within the context of working smart. Without hard work, you cannot go far.
Becoming the very best in whatever field of endeavour requires a lot of hard work. It is estimated that it takes 10,000 hours of hard work to get to the top of any field. You simply have to pay your dues. The best in any field are the hardest working folks with very strong work ethics. They come in a little earlier, work a little harder and close a little later. They do not hang with the crowd and their performance is at the top level. The best athletes in the world work harder than their peers. They show up first at the practice pitch and usually stay behind practicing long after their colleagues have left to go catch some fun in town.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work” – Stephen King
“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It is the will to prepare to win that matters” – Paul Bryant
Hard work separates the men from the boys. It takes a tremendous amount of self discipline to work hard in a focussed manner until one attains expertise in any field or achieves a significant goal. Hard work also involves focus on personal growth, development and continuous improvement. Study and continuous learning is hard work. It takes hard work and discipline to finish one good book a week if you have a day job and also mind your business after hours. Often we know what we need to do to advance to the next level, but lack the discipline and hard work ethic to do it now. We leave for tomorrow stuff we could do today as procrastinators concerned. We console ourselves that we will cross the bridge when we get to it. Rather than prepare for tomorrow today, we lull ourselves into mediocrity by thinking that tomorrow will take care of itself. It does not work that way. The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.
We have to work hard smartly. We have to commit to doing what it takes to attain the skill level we desire or achieve the goal we aim for. In an increasingly competitive world, talent is no longer the differentiator but hard work is. Given the same skill level, if you practice when your opponent is doing something else, by the time both of you meet, it is easy to guess who will get the upper hand. Work hard, work smart, work harder, do whatever it takes to achieve your goal. There is no alternative to hard work. Folks that peddle easy solutions through books they sell worked hard to write and market those books. They are the ones that will get rich quick, if they find enough gullible folks to buy their story. You end up with the book while they end up with the money. Short cuts are often the longer route to your destination. By the time you find out that it does not work, you would have wasted valuable time, energy and resources. Principles are no respecter of persons. It is possible to find an easier way to accomplish a task, but there is no alternative to hard work when it comes to sustainable success.