So, should you work hard or smart? Well, In defining success, the maxim; ‘to each man his own’ holds true. With the diversity of goals, dreams, and aspirations, success is highly subjective.
Regardless of perspective though, we can all objectively agree that in whatever profession, the acme of success is entrenched in being the best. To be the best however, is by no means an easy task. In navigating this gargantuan quest, any advantage over the competition is vital.
Hard work provides you with this advantage and a little bit of edge over the competition. Admittedly, we have all been bequeathed with different levels of talent- some are outrageously talented, and others, not so much so. We cannot control the ‘level’ of talent we were born with. But there is something we can control- the intensity of our application and hard work.
Without hard work, talent perpetually underachieves, but hard work when commingled with talent creates something special indeed. As Kevin Durant rightly opines, ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’.
The victor example
A few years ago, in the university, I met a particular young man, Victor, who reformed my perspective on the meaning of hard work. On close examination, he didn’t seem prodigiously talented in the academics. He was good; very good actually, but there were a couple of persons in the class who were perhaps more inherently intelligent than him. But, boy, did he work hard!
Whenever we studied together, I was always taken aback by his super-human application. He worked harder, considerably harder than everybody else. Not surprisingly, he became the best. And, by a long way too. 〈〉 I like Jim Rohn’s perspective on hard work: ‘don’t wish it were easier’, he says, ‘wish you were better’.
Fortunately, you can even go further than ‘wishing’ you were better, you can decide to be better. And, work hard to be better. Many athletes have training sessions every day. Some football clubs even inculcate the practice of training twice a day to give them that little bit of edge over the others. Several persons of notable scholastic erudition or artistic dexterity actually put in extraordinary efforts in perfecting their crafts.
Painter extraordinaire, Michelangelo once remarked: ‘if people know how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all’. And many of the world-renowned CEO s and success stories are known to work enormously hard and sleep significantly less than the average human being.
Google any variation of the words: ‘sleeping habits of the successful’ and you’d get the idea. British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher deemed hard work to actually be the ‘recipe’ for success. ‘I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work’, she says, ‘that is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near’ The truth is that in any world; not least a digital and highly populated one, being the best at whatever craft, profession or expertise, requires hard work. There are no shortcuts, no corners, no circumvents. Hard work is the key. Period. Full stop.
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