Many of us, since the time we were young, were told that hard work pays off. Just work hard kid, everything will take care of itself. We have been convinced that this is fact and that all the successful people who have walked this earth, you guessed it, were the hardest workers. They outworked everyone to get to the top. They woke up earlier than everyone else, they stayed up all night, and when they had the chance to relax, they didn’t. They are the elite, certified workaholics. But, does success require more than just working hard?
Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard! Being a former athlete, the saying had been embedded into my brain. On any given day, the individual with more talent could come up short to the player who is willing to outwork them. There is a term for the less talented individual or team, the underdog. I like to believe we all love a good underdog story, from major upsets in sports, politics, and even stories in the bible. We all know at least one underdog story, the first one I learned was the story of David vs. Goliath. These stories have a way of sticking with us especially when used in a manner to teach.
Many of you may be wondering what I have against hard work. Some may deem me lazy just based on the fact that I said hard work doesn’t guarantee success. Either way, the truth to what I am saying is that just because you believe you are working hard does not guarantee you success. David was not physically capable of handling the giant that was Goliath; none the less, he prevailed. David didn’t step up to this giant of a man and say, I must outwork him. I don’t think David’s work ethic would have served him any good. David was simply tactical and resourceful, using what he had at his disposal and maximizing it. The man had a slingshot with pebbles for crying out loud. Hard work may have no substitute, however, there are three things that I believe we can all apply to generate the results we desire.
Consistency- All great results can be linked back to some form of consistency. Consistency is sanity, it is the logic of what being successful requires. Consistency will require more out of you than perceived “hard work”. Consistency requires your daily intention. If I decide to go to the gym once a week and work hard, I will definitely feel the burn. However, if my goal was to be the greatest bodybuilder on the planet, my once a week routine will not cut it. Many times we want to be great at something, better yet we want to be the greatest. It isn’t our commitment to hard work, but our commitment to being consistent, which results in us falling short.
Sacrifice- No success is accomplished without sacrifice. When people hear sacrifice they often go to the extreme end of the spectrum. No, we aren’t slaughtering sheep as a requirement to be successful. Sacrifice can be a more subtle act, which can be monumental when pursuing success. Sacrifice requires that we tap into a part of ourselves and say, “This is bigger than me”. Face it, everything that we pursue and want to accomplish means nothing if others don’t benefit. Sacrifice is a loss or something you give up, usually for the sake of a better cause. Sacrifice is intentional, not circumstantial. Sacrifice requires from us patience most importantly, trusting that what we are willing to give up or put off will be rewarded back to us tenfold.
Perseverance- The pursuit of success will always come with adversity. Perseverance is how we test who we are in moments of adversity. No matter how hard we are willing to work for things to go right, we will often be combatted by things that will ultimately go wrong. At these moments, and believe me, they are just moments, our work ethic will be challenged. It’s easy to grind when we are immediately rewarded, our energy level is through the roof and we feel we can take on anything in our path. How do you respond when progress becomes stagnant? Perseverance is continuing to work hard, as a matter of fact, scratch that, to work harder when you aren’t receiving the results you desire.
Overall, I believe that once we are open to applying these three practices in our life success is inevitable. Hard work is a requirement but not the sole requirement for success. We must be aware of the things that will combat or progress, and counter that which will keep us stagnant. This message is not to condemn those who believe in principles of hard work because hard work is a pillar of success. It is to recognize that this sole pillar is not strong enough to support on its own. Although I gave my three principles, you are the architect of your success and can implement whatever is necessary to ensure you have the results you desire.