For those who think that they are lazy, here is the good news, hard work may not be the most important solution when it comes to creating success in your career or in your life. Yes, you read that right, working hard alone is not going to guarantee your success and hard work alone will just make your effort go wasted.
Since young, we were taught that “just work hard at whatever job you get and success will come to you”. This is not really true. Working hard at the wrong thing will only get you more of the wrong thing.
This is just like the quote, “You can never see the sunrise if you keep running to the west”. No matter how fast or how hard you work, you will never get to see the sunrise if you are facing at the wrong direction. Hence, hard work may not always pay off. Hard work can only be paid off when you work on the right thing and follow the right plan.
Most people have been conditioned to believe that success is associated with hard work. And without working hard, one cannot achieve outstanding success in life. As a result, people often self-sabotage because they think that they are lazy.
You may have seen people who are extremely wealthy and successful, but they work only for a couple of hours a day. A very good example is Tim Ferriss, the famous author of the best-selling book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”. In the book, Tim writes that we need to leverage on a system to create automation rather than working the entire day to generate the results we desire.
On the other hand, you must have also heard about stories where people work day and night, and they work extremely hard in order to earn a living that is barely enough to pay the bills and put food on the table.
Warren Buffett, one of the world’s greatest investors once said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” Therefore, it is not just about working hard, you need to work hard at the right thing to build a sustainable system that will ensure your success in life.
Below are the five keys you should take into account when it comes to achieving success in your life. Choose to work both hard and smart.
- Working for the right purpose
The first key you need to know is if you are working for the right purpose. Why do you work in the first place? Clearly, you do not you want to climb a ladder and get to the top and only to find out that your ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. If this is what is happening to you right now, stop, reflect, and make sure your ladder is leaning against the right wall.
What do you want to accomplish in your life? Are your goals truly what you want or they are simply the things that your parents, colleagues, or other people want to accomplish? Most people are influenced by their peers and family members. They work hard to achieve goals that other people want, not themselves.
Thus, you need to find out your purpose before you choose to work hard. Running ahead at full speed without knowing where you are heading is like driving a Formula One race car without having a clear direction. You can crash and you can die. This is very dangerous because you can end up in a place where you do not want to be. You can waste a lot of your time and ultimately, your life if you are chasing after something that you do not want.
- Working on the right strategy
Ask yourself, are you following the right path and working on the right strategy? Too often, people blindly follow the wrong strategy and at the end of the day, they end up getting the wrong results or no results at all.
A very good example is people who are trying to achieve their financial goal. If you are earning $10,000 a month and you set your goal to earning $100,000 a month so that you can break the million-dollar mark, what is your strategy to achieve that goal? For most people, they just work harder. If they are working from 9 to 5, they will put in more hours; say from 8 to 7. And you know that this is not going to work.
Putting in more hours or working harder is not a good strategy to achieve the goal of earning a million dollar a year. In order to do that, you need a completely different strategy. The same goes if you want to earn $100 million, you cannot rely on a strategy that helps you earn $1 million. Different goals require a different strategy.
Everyone in this world has the same 24 hours a day, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and other super successful individuals. The problem is that they do not solely rely on hard work to produce the amazing results in their lives. They rely on a better strategy or system that gets them the remarkable results in their career and life.
- Working for improvement
The third key you need to understand is about improvement. Working hard alone is not going to get you where you want unless you work for improvement as well. “Grit”, the best-selling book written by Angela Duckworth says a lot about improvement. Imagine if you jog every single day for twenty years, will that make you a professional jogger who can qualify for Olympics?
You know the answer. It is not. There are a lot of people who go for jogging each day, but they did not become a professional athlete even after repeating the process for twenty years. The reason is that they lack ignore the necessary improvement requires to make them better.
Do you gauge your heartbeat rate when you jog? Do you measure your blood pressure and count the distance when you run, jog, or just walk? Do you have a coach? This is why most people are not succeeding in life because they did not aim to improve, rather, they aim to repeat the process for the sake of it. If you are serious about achieving greater success in whatever you do, work hard, and at the same time, aim for improvement.
- Working with passion
You should have heard about this a gazillion times. People keep on telling you that if you want to be successful, you must work with passion or follow your passion. The truth is that it is right.
Imagine visiting your local grocery store, if a promoter approaches you with passion and enthusiasm, how will you feel? Conversely, what if he shows no interest and tries to ignore whatever questions you asked him? Do you think you will want to buy from him again?
Passion is required when it comes to achieving success. Hard work alone can only get you so far, you need the drive and the passion to go even further. Furthermore, without passion, you will give up as soon as the moment you faced with difficulties and rejections.
When you pour in a half-hearted attempt, you will produce half-hearted results. This is why you need to work with passion and enthusiasm to produce remarkable results in what you do.
- Working to create more value
Finally, you have to consider if the work you do is able to create more value for others. If your work is not going to be helpful or bring value to others, no matter how hard you work, at the end of the day, success may still elude you.
One of the reasons highly successful people are able to work hard despite all the hardships is because they have a bigger purpose to achieve. They may be wealthy, but wealth is just the byproduct of the game. The real reward is satisfaction and seeing them able to help and touch other people’s lives. People like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk are already multi-billionaires, but they choose to continue to work on their dreams because they have a bigger purpose, which is to create more values to others.
When Elon Musk sold Zip2 to Compaq, he received $22 million and he can choose to retire rich, but he did not. He continued on to found X.com that eventually merged with PayPal and was sold to eBay, and Musk received $165 million from the deal. Still, Musk continues to march on and created Tesla, Solar City, and SpaceX.
Therefore, work hard to create more value for others because when you do, success will come knocking automatically.
Remember, hard work on its own is not going to make you successful. In order to achieve the outstanding success that you desire, you need to follow a proven path, improve along the journey, and of course, work for a bigger cause.