You have heard over and over again, that if you want to be successful, you have got to work hard for it. Without hard work, you will never be successful.

But is that so? Is it true that hard work will guarantee your success?

In this guide, I’m going to debunk the myth about why hard work is not enough.

If you want to achieve extraordinary success in life, you need to stop buying into the myth that hard work is key.

You have to stop working hard blindly.

But don’t get me wrong though, hard work is important, but you have to understand the fact that more effort does not give you more results.

Think about chasing the sunrise. If you want to catch the sunrise, but if you keep running west, you’re not going to make it, no matter how fast you run.

If you are traveling in the wrong direction, working hard only gets you to the wrong place, only faster.

I want to share a story from the best-selling book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, written by Greg McKeown. It is one of the best books about focus, productivity, and getting results with less work.

essentialism book
Essentialism is a book that shares the idea of how to do less to achieve more. It is one of my must-read books. Get the book here from Amazon.

In the book, Greg shared his story of how he learned the principle that working more does not produce more, but doing less actually creates more.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

I remember when I was young I wanted to earn some pocket money. One of the few jobs available for twelve-year-olds in England was a paper route. It paid about a pound a day and took about an hour. So for a while I heaved a bag that seemed heavier than I was from door to door for an hour each morning before school (and just for the record, we couldn’t just throw the paper onto someone’s front porch, as is done in the United States. We had to take the paper up to the tiny letterbox on the door and then force the paper all the way through it). It was hard earned pocket money, to be sure.

The considerable effort I had to put in just to earn that one pound a day forever changed the way I thought about the cost of the things I desired. From then on, when I looked at something I wanted to buy I would translate it into the number of days I would have to deliver the papers to get it. One pound of reward equaled one hour of effort. I realized that at this rate it would take quite a while to save up for that MicroMachine I wanted.

Then, as I started to think about how I might speed up the process, I had the insight that I could wash the neighbors’ cars on Saturday mornings instead of delivering papers. I could charge two pounds per car and could clean three in an hour. Suddenly, the ratio of hours to pounds changed from 1:1 to 1:6. I had just learned a crucial lesson: certain types of effort yield higher rewards than others.

Years later at university I went to work at a coaching company. I worked in their customer service department for $9 an hour. It would have been easy to think of the jobs in terms of that ratio between time and reward. But I knew what really counted was the relationship between time and results.

So I asked myself, “What is the most valuable result I could achieve in this job?” It turned out to be winning back customers who wanted to cancel. So I worked hard at convincing customers not to cancel, and soon I achieved a zero rate of cancellation. Since I was paid for each client I retained, I learned more, earned more, and contributed more.

Working hard is important. But more effort does not necessarily yield more results. “Less but better” does

Pareto’s 80/20 Principle

I bet you have heard about the Pareto’s Rule or the 80/20 Rule, right?

The rule says that 80% of your results are created by 20% of your work. And 80% of your work only produces 20% of your results.

In other words, out of the 10 things you need to do, only 2 of them are high-impact work. The rest, 8 of them are low-impact work.

The key is to focus on getting the 20% work done that yields you the most impact and results.

This is why hard work doesn’t guarantee success.

And this is why working more does not necessarily mean that you will create more success.

Hence, hard work is not enough.

You need to make sure you are working on the right thing that gives you the most results, not just any work.

For example, as a blogger and internet marketer, there are many things I need and can do every day to grow my websites and my online business, but I choose to only focus on 3 core activities:

  1. Creating and repurposing content
  2. Work on improving my conversion rate
  3. Marketing and getting traffic

These are the 3 core activities I focused on every day. What about the rest? Well, the rest can wait.

If you want to produce better results and achieve greater success in both your personal and professional life, you must focus on doing the vital few and ignore the trivial many.

The key to success is to work on what truly matters.

You don’t want to focus on whatever comes to you.

We all have 24 hours a day, and the only way to get more results and create greater success is to work on those work that gives you better yields.

Just like what Greg said in his book, “The result is that by investing in fewer things we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most.”

Take a look at this image below and you will understand better:

When you try to do a million things, you make only millimeter’s of progress. But when you focus on doing only the essential, you make significant progress. Get Essentialism book from Amazon.

You don’t want to spread your effort too thin and try to focus on everything.

Instead, you want to focus and put all your energy and effort into what matters most. Work on those and you will create results and success by leaps and bounds.

How to Work Less But Achieve More

Can you really work less and achieve more? Of course, you could.

Here are 3 tips to help you work less but produce greater results in what you do…

1. Be aware of the work you do

Before you work on your tasks or projects, ask yourself if they are important and are going to get you the results you desire.

If the answer is a yes, then go ahead and do it. But if your answer is a no, then you need to focus on getting the vital few done first.

Follow the Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 Rule. Identify what are the tasks that give you the most success and work on them first. The rest should wait.

2. Eliminate the trivial many

Another tip to help you create better results and achieve greater success in what you do is to get rid of the less important.

The problem with most people is that they don’t learn to get rid of, eliminate, or outsource the less important work. They think they have time or those are important and if they don’t do it, nobody is going to get it done.

This is why most people are stuck and are not getting ahead. They spend most of their time working on the trivial many rather than putting in more effort to work on the vital few.

If you feel that you are busy but are not producing the results or the success you want, most likely, you have fallen into this trap.

If you don’t eliminate or get rid of the unimportant stuff, they will take control of your life and stop you from progressing forward.

3. Get the essential task/project done

Once you get rid of the unimportant tasks, it is time to work hard on the high-impact work.

Don’t get me wrong, working hard is important, but you have to make sure you work hard on the right things, not just anything.

You will still need to work for things that you want. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard, but instead, you should work hard on the high-impact work.

Here are 2 of my guides you should consider reading:

How to Make Your Hard Work Pays Off

Stop Working Hard Unless You Fulfill These 5 Principles


By now, you should understand why hard work is not enough. Every action isn’t created equal.

This is why some people can earn a million dollars working only 3 hours a day, while others are earning only $3,000 per month while working 10 hours a day.

That’s the difference between working on the vital few that give you results and working on the trivial many that are getting you nowhere.

Again, I suggest you read the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. You will be amazed and the ideas shared by Greg McKeown will transform your life.

This article may contain affiliate links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As always, I only recommend products and services I trust.

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Reach Your Goals? Don't forget to do so. Cheers. :)

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