The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.
– Oprah Winfrey
Hard Work Defined
My definition of hard work is that which challenges you.
And why is challenge important? Why not just do what’s easiest?
Most people will do what’s easiest and avoid hard work — and that’s precisely why you should do the opposite. The superficial opportunities of life will be attacked by hordes of people seeking what’s easy. The much tougher challenges will usually see a lot less competition and a lot more opportunity.
There’s an African gold mine two miles deep. It cost tens of millions of dollars to construct, but it’s one of the most lucrative gold mines ever. These miners tackled a very challenging problem with a lot of hard work, but ultimately it’s paying off.
Strong challenge is commonly connected with strong results. Sure you can get lucky every once in a while and find an easy path to success. But will you be able to maintain that success, or is it just a fluke? Will you be able to repeat it? Once other people learn how you did it, will you find yourself overloaded with competition?
When you discipline yourself to do what is hard, you gain access to a realm of results that are denied everyone else. The willingness to do what is difficult is like having a key to a special private treasure room.
The nice thing about hard work is that it’s universal. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — hard work can be used to achieve positive long-term results regardless of the specifics.
Hard work pays off. When someone tells you otherwise, beware the sales pitch for something “fast and easy” that’s about to come next. The greater your capacity for hard work, the more rewards fall within your grasp. The deeper you can dig, the more treasure you can potentially find.
Being healthy is hard work. Finding and maintaining a successful relationship is hard work. Raising kids is hard work. Getting organized is hard work. Setting goals, making plans to achieve them, and staying on track is hard work. Even being happy is hard work (true happiness that comes from high self-esteem, not the fake kind that comes from denial and escapism).
Hard work goes hand-in-hand with acceptance. One of the things you must accept are those areas of your life that won’t succumb to anything less than hard work. Perhaps you’ve had no luck finding a fulfilling relationship. Maybe the only way it’s going to happen is if you accept you’re going to have to do what you’ve been avoiding. Perhaps you want to lose weight. Maybe it’s time to accept that the path to your goal requires disciplined diet and exercise (both hard work). Perhaps you want to increase your income. Maybe you should accept that the only way it will happen is with a lot of hard work.
Your life will reach a whole new level when you stop avoiding and fearing hard work and simply surrender to it. Make it your ally instead of your enemy. It’s a potent tool to have on your side.