By: Lucas Nwanchukwu
We live in a society that promotes the narrative that success is guaranteed from one’s hard work. We pride ourselves on our hard work and our work ethic. It will not be out of place to draw up the conclusion that success is a demonstration of your virtue, as it points to the fact that you are entitled to success because you have worked hard.
I have seen many deserving people and frequently classmates from my secondary school study years to my tertiary study get out of the blue poor results at tests and examinations.
Sadly, many people that keep struggling daily to succeed from hard work, find themselves sucked into a cruel cycle from which they can never seem to come out from. This cycle makes you think you have not done enough, hence, you have to work hard the more, it goes on and same poor result is the output. How about you pause for a moment and evaluate what you are doing to know if it is the right thing or better put, if it the right kind of hard work.
The big question is, what did you fail to do? How did the outcome turn oddly out of sync with the effort you have put in? Quite often, if the person is grossly worried, room for further questions can be made, such as, have I committed some slip in my preparation process? Then your worst fear, maybe you are not just good, that even your best falls far short of the mark?
Apparently, the endpoint is the feeling of disappointment that birth both shame and exasperation. Then, there is a last option to place the blame on. In a highly religious space like Nigeria, the person begins to entertain thoughts and feelings of being robbed of his/her destiny, occasioned by some dark powers that be, which I do not take away from the equation. Your thoughts reverberates “las las, my village people don get me”
By this time, the person will think he/she will provoke sympathy of people but all you get is a cold scorn and judgment.
Hard work will NOT PAY if the right things are not done, it will only amount to suffering. It will just be a torturous journey and efforts that will not yield anything other than pain and disappointment.
If hard work indeed will bring success, we may consider some things we have ignored for long and I see them as requisites to rewire our mindset, which will positively change our approach towards achieving success.
1. Hard work isn’t physical–it’s mental- We all know plenty of people who worked hard all their life and ended up broke, don’t we? I have nothing against hard work. However, we have to agree that hard work fundamentally involves mental process of making smart decisions. The key here is to ask questions with an open mind and without any preconceptions, such as where am I? Where are my going from here? how do I get there?. Of course without entertaining preconceptions, because, preconceptions lead to fear and clouded thinking. This form of open-minded thinking allows for creative problem solving and opportunities. This will help you make smart and strategic decisions in order to hit your mark and surpass it. Smart thinking combined with smart work will always pay off in the long run.
2. Be intentional in all you do- Is your life run on autopilot or you are in charge? Being intentional about all you do means you knowing why you do what you do and why you don’t do what you don’t do. It is actually not about making choices but evaluating the choices you have made and how they add up towards achieving your goals
3. Focus on things you can control- It is an extreme extension of perfectionism to think you have “everything under control” you will constantly overextend yourself without much to show for it. Of course, you expend too much energy on issues that fall outside of your circles of influence and control, limiting the energy you have left to use on issues that you can truly control. Be realistic about what you can control. Pick fights you can win and win big, that way, you will be living in alignment with and doing (working hard) on what matters most? That will make your hard work pay.
4. Success is all about relationships NOT Hard work — Sometimes your actions (hard work) fail to bring the results you want. You will need to have anchoring relationships. It is essential, you require this web of support of relevant people with different skills, and ability. They can come from your family, friends, colleagues at work or peers. The right people in your life will benefit you throughout each of your life’s endeavors.
I believe that merely working hard does not cut it, but adding the externals I have mentioned in this write-up will help you set a course for your life rather than just wandering aimlessly through life