So the age-old adage goes… “work hard to be successful”. Numerous books, articles and videos preach that the hard you work, the luckier you get! Success comes from grinding it out. To win you have to out in the hours, etc, etc.

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

But simply working hard is a dumb move. Putting all these hours, dedicating yourself to the “grind” and sacrificing everything else to commit to your success is not the answer.

Firstly just putting the hours in isn’t enough, you’ve got to be putting the hours in on the right things. We can all work 12/13 hour days and still not move our business, project or performance forwards. The world is full of hard-working people. People who work long shifts in restaurants, bars, hotels and businesses. The world is full of hard-working people pulling 2 jobs to make a living. The world is also full of successful and wealthy people who spend their afternoons playing golf or have the freedom to pick their kids up from school every day. Working hard is not the answer, working smart is.

At the start of your career yes grinding it out and learning the business is key and that will also likely get you noticed, promoted or win the competition. As you get older, more experienced and the competition (work or sport) gets higher level, simply grafting won’t be enough. Your work and training needs to be more strategic, you have to find the multipliers. The ways in which you can scale and expand your actions to deliver more than the sum of your hourly input.

In business this might be out-sourcing lower-level tasks, recruiting people to take on the more basic work or finding ways to convert your hourly work to more passive types of income. In sport, this could be the application of your training — instead of just doing maximum repetitions of your skill you train for a limited time but create more meaningful competition like pressure to really hone the skill.

Hard work is required I’m not saying you can be successful or achieve a high level of performance by sitting on your ass but believing you can be elite at anything you do simply by putting in a lot of hours is a fallacy and one you need to address. Plan your time, put in more meaningful hours, work smarter. Not longer, find some balance and more success…


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