Take a close look at any genuinely successful practitioner of anything worthwhile. Examine one who has been successful over time. You will find someone who has put in more than their fair share of hard work.
Whatever your goal, if you want to succeed in your chosen endeavour you should be aware of the need to work for that success. It doesn’t come easy. You must be prepared to put in the long hours and go the extra mile even when those around you are knocking off for the day.
Working hard is, well, hard work. There is no other way to describe it. You must have desire, discipline, energy and stamina. To be successful over time these things must be applied constantly.
This article is the eighth part in my Success Formula series. Make sure you check out part one here if you have not already read it.
The seventh element in my success formula is termed work.
Overnight success never lasts
I have noticed a growing tendency nowadays for people to desire, and even demand or expect, literal “overnight” success. This is an unrealistic and unsustainable approach. It is also a lazy approach. Even if someone does something spectacular or meaningful as a one-time event they often run out of steam. Once they find it takes continuous work to keep riding the wave, many people give up. The work required often gets hard because it gets difficult. They thought the one big effort would do the trick for them. Wrong. In my world true long-term success belongs to hard-working people.
We constantly see celebrities, rock stars or other media types in the various media channels. Because we are bombarded with these on a 24/7 basis we could think their success is the only success worth having. This leads to the “overnight” school of wishing and hoping for the one big break. It is likely true that all these people did indeed get a big break opportunity but dig deeper. If you do, you will find many who have put massive amounts of work into their careers.
We can’t all be famous celebrities, but including work in our own success formula will enable us to succeed in our goals.
Success means different things to different people because we are all unique. Diligent parents put in the hard yards to support their children. In-demand tradespeople ply their trade and grow their skills because that creates loyal customers. Successful students study hard so they pass their exams. Skillful writers write a lot. Painters paint. Athletes train. Singers sing. You get the idea. They may not get fame and fortune but, because they do the arduous work, they do achieve success.
Hard work alone is not enough
Unfortunately, it is not enough just to work hard because life is more complicated than that. Hey, I don’t make the rules. I just follow them like everyone else. In fact, if work was enough it would be the only term in the formula. However, it isn’t the only term and for good reason.
I know of several people who failed despite their efforts. I’m sure you can come up with plenty of examples of hard-working people who came up short on their dreams. If you dig deeper, you’ll find those people did put in a lot of work but in the wrong areas. Perhaps they failed to include or work on the rest of the success formula elements? Did they keep solely to the areas they knew well at the expense of others? Could they have valued efficiency over effectiveness? There are many potential reasons for failure despite ample work.
Effective versus efficient
The terms efficient and effective are confused by many people because they often don’t know there is even a difference between the two. If they are different, which one should be considered first?
There is an enormous difference between the two terms.
Doing something more efficiently means doing it faster or perhaps with less materials and wastage. You get more for less.
The problem comes when you are becoming more efficient at the wrong things. You can put in a lot of work to make things more efficient. In this case, however, you will simply do more of the wrong things faster. You’ll get less for more.
The solution? You need to think in terms of effectiveness first. Something which is effective delivers the desired results and performance.
Get your systems and processes effective first, then work hard to make the effective systems more efficient.
Effectiveness should always come before efficiency.
Work smart and hard
“Work smart not hard,” I’m told but, for me, this is a lazy cop-out option. As the article title suggests, working smart, hard and effectively is key and, in my opinion, it’s the only way to go.
You must make sure you work hard on the right things to succeed. I wish you well on your journey.
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Why not check out the other Success Formula series posts?
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