We all have been led to believe that in order to be successful and to achieve greatness in life, we need to work hard. But is this really true? The answer is in this article.
The first thing when you take a look at the clock, do you look at the hour hand or the second hand to tell the time? You look at the hour hand first, and then the minute hand. And most likely, you ignore the second hand.
Do you know that the second hand works and moves the most? However, most people don’t even bother looking at the second hand because it matters the least although it moves the most.
This phenomenon reflects a lot about working hard. You can work hard all you want, but at the end of the day, if you are working on the wrong thing or if your function is incorrect, you won’t be able to create an impact, just like the second hand.
I bet that you have seen people who work hard all their lives. They get up early, go to work, they never take rest, and they work until late evening but have nothing much to show for.
On the other hand, there are people who start their work late, some even work only a couple of hours a week, they travel and take a lot of holidays, but they are wealthy and successful.
More Does Not Mean Better
Working hard and doing more may not be as ideal as you imagined. In fact, the society has trained us to believe that more work leads to better results, which is not really true. More work only creates busyness. You can work hard, but if you are not being effective, all you do is creating low-impact tasks for yourself.
When it comes to being effective, you need to work on the right activities that will lead you to the most result, and not simply trying to do more.
Some people work four hours a week, but they are earning a million dollar in a year. On the contrary, some people work sixteen hours a day, but they barely make it by the end of each month.
It is not about how hard you work, but how effective and efficient are you.
It is about doing the right thing than doing everything as much as possible. It is about having a plan and working on the right thing.
And more importantly, you need to work smart and hard. The idea of working smart should always come first. Trying to pour in hard working blindly will never get you the right result.
Should You Stop Working Hard?
Well, you should, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
I believe that rather than working hard blindly, you should first understand the 5 principles that I’m going to share with you below. You definitely don’t want to spend years into working on something only to discover that it is not something that you want, right?
Plus, you don’t want to waste your energy and effort by working on things that are not going to work, do you?
This is why you should stop and reflect on your work. Find out if what you do are working and if it something that you truly desire to achieve.
A lot of people just jump to their work and work all day without spending any second into thinking if what they do is going to get them the results.
Don’t let that happen to you. If your goal is to build a successful e-commerce business, working hard in a saloon is not going to get you there.
You need to work on the right thing to get the right result. Unless you reflect, learn, and take action on the right task, you will never get to achieve what you want in life, no matter how hard you work.
Trying to chase the sun and see the sunrise by running to the west is not a good strategy. Regardless of how fast you run, you’re going to miss the sunrise.
But when you combine smart work and hard work, things will be totally different. Results and success will come to you at an exponential rate.
Yes, you have to work hard but make sure you fulfill these 5 principles before you do.
1. Working on the right purpose
The very first thing you need to check is to see if you are working on the right purpose. Why do work? Why do you wake up each morning and get to work?
Just like what Stephen R. Covey, the best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said:
“As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it is leaning against the right wall. If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
If you don’t want your effort to go wasted, make sure you work on the right purpose.
I believe that you have heard about stories where people working on the wrong goals. They get into the wrong profession because their parents or peers want them to. And they end up feeling miserable and are getting nowhere.
Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you are working on the things that you really want.
So how can you do so? The answer is pretty simple. The first thing you need to do is to discover your purpose. You can read my previous blog post here and find out your purpose in life.
Next, ask yourself the question that Steve Jobs asked himself each morning:
“‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ If the Answer is ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Thinking about mortality and living your life today as your last day may sound awkward, but it is incredibly powerful because it helps you focus on doing what matters most to you.
If today is your last day, will you waste time doing things that don’t matter? Well, if giving yourself one day to live, it may sound too short. You can alter Jobs’ question by making it into a month. If you have only one month left to live, what will you do?
Reflecting on what you do each day is one of the best methods to discover your purpose and to also live your purpose.
2. Working on the right plan
Are your plans and strategies working for you? If your plan is not working, no matter how hard you work, you are still going to produce the same results.
For example, the strategy to earn $1,000 a month and the strategy to earn $100,000 a month are totally different.
And if you did not change your strategy but keep on doing the same thing over and over again, all you get is the same old result.
If you want to get from point A to point B, you can take a bus, drive a car, ride a bicycle, walk, or even take a flight. The thing is that if the distance between A and B is 1,000km apart, walking may not be the best option. Perhaps, taking a flight will be a better choice.
This is exactly what is happening to most people out there. They want to earn a million dollars a year, but they are not doing the work or using the plan that can get them the million dollars that they desire.
If you are earning $100 from your internet business and you want to scale the number to make $100,000, doing the same thing with more effort may not necessarily get you there.
Your strategy must be viable. Listen, it is not that your goals are too big or too ambitious, it is your strategy that does not work.
Do you think it is possible to make $100 million in a year? Yes, it is possible, there are people who are already earning this amount of money in history. And the difference between you and these people is the strategy that you both use.
If you rely on selling products door-to-door all by yourself to earn $100 million, it will be near to impossible. You have to rely on other people’s time, energy and money. People who earn hundreds of millions are those who have tremendous leverage and a system where they can scale globally, including taking their business public.
Your strategy matters. When you follow the right plan, you will get the right result.
Therefore, make sure your plan is correct before you poured in the hard work. Working hard on the wrong plan will only get you the wrong result in a faster manner.
3. Working for improvement
The third key you should consider is about improvement. It is true that you should work hard, but are you improving along the way or do you just put in the hard work and doing the same thing every single day?
I like the example given by Angela Duckworth, the best-selling author of the famous book, Grit. In the book, Duckworth says that people can jog and run for years, but that does not mean that they are as good as a professional athlete or able to qualify for the Olympics.
But they have put in all the hard work and exercise for years, they should be able to compete in the Olympics, right? Nope, they lack the improvement factor.
Working hard and repeating what you do each day does not mean that you are improving.
Yes, you have to work hard, but at the same time, you must make sure that you are improving as well. If you are not improving or getting better, you are only repeating the same process and hence, producing the same old results. Even after twenty years down the road, you’ll still be getting nowhere.
This explains why people who have been jogging for years did not become professional athletes because all they do are just pouring in the hard work without deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice means your repetitive performance is intentional. You’re doing it to improve a certain area. For instance, when you go jogging, do you measure your speed, your breathing, your heartbeat rate, your blood pressure, the distance you run, the distance you jog, the distance you walk, your meal before run, etc.
Professional athletes measure everything and they have a coach to guide them and help them in recording all of these. And this is what deliberate practice is all about.
And this is why a lot of people who worked hard for years but are not getting anywhere.
If you’re serious about achieving great success, you must aim to improve along with your journey. You work hard and at the same time, you deliberately practice your craft to become a master in what you do.
4. Working with passion
I bet you have heard this phrase at least a thousand times, “work hard and follow your passion”. I believe that passion is extremely important when it comes to working hard.
Steve Jobs got it right, he said:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and if you don’t like your work, you are actually spending most of your life working on things that you dislike. How wasteful is that?
Imagine if you are working on things that you love doing and have passion in, don’t you think that your life will be totally different?
So choose to work hard on things that you are passionate in. If you don’t have the enthusiasm for your work, it will be difficult to create breakthroughs because you are attempting it at a half-hearted manner.
When you treat your job in a half-hearted attempt, you will produce half-hearted results.
A lot of people want to build a successful website, be it a blog or an e-commerce website. The problem is that the majority of them treated their business as a hobby. And when you treat your business as a hobby, you can only earn the “hobbyist” kind of income from it.
Furthermore, passion is extremely important when it comes to dealing with hard times. People who don’t have the passion will just quit because they don’t love doing it.
So, don’t just work hard, instead, work hard with passion and enthusiasm.
Imagine when you go shopping and the promoter is so passionate and enthusiastic about the product, do you think there is a higher chance you’re going to buy the product? What if the promoter acted the complete opposite?
Passion and enthusiasm say it all.
5. Working to create more value for others
Don’t just work hard because you want to make a lot of money, work hard because you want to create more value to others and make the world a better place.
Take a look at most of the highly successful people out there, people like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, they are already a billionaire, why do they still work hard each day?
They can choose to retire and enjoy their lives, but instead, they choose to continue to work. And the reason being that they have a bigger vision to accomplish and to create more values to others.
Jeff Bezos of Amazon says:
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
He’s trying to make Amazon a platform for shopping that focuses on customer service.
Mark Zuckerberg says:
“The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook, is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently.”
He’s trying to build a social network for people to easily connect with each other.
All the great companies and extraordinary people out there have a greater aim bigger than earning money. They are trying to improve something in other people’s lives or are trying to make the world a better place.
This is why working to create more value is crucial. When you work on a bigger purpose, you will be more fulfilled and satisfied. You feel great when your clients and customers come and say “thank you”. You feel warmth when your product and service have helped many others and make their lives better.
How do you feel when you donate $10 to a needy person and it changed his or her life?
This is the kind of gratifying feeling and satisfaction that we all crave deep inside. When your purpose is to help and create more value to others, you are more willing to work harder and aim to achieve the impossible feat.
Thus, create more value, help, and learn to make the society and the world a better place.
Before you work hard, make sure you understand these 5 keys mentioned above. Here’s the recap:
- Work hard for the right purpose.
- Work hard on the right plan and strategy.
- Work hard and aim for improvement along the way.
- Work hard with passion and enthusiasm.
- Work hard to serve and to create more value for others.
So, do you think you should work hard now?
My answer is yes, we all should work hard in life to achieve what we desire, but don’t just work hard blindly, follow these 5 principles and work hard. And you will do just fine.
What do you think?