Working hard is the most important way to get things done and therefore it is crucial for success. Have you ever wondered why Ronaldo is very much powerful in football/soccer?
The success secret of a famous musician is to keep practicing every day, and that of a tennis player, such as Federer, Nadal, is to play, read, and thinks about the ball and the racket daily and nightly; it sounds just that simple!. Ronaldo must be thinking, practicing and dreaming about football every hour too (pardon my guess J), hence things come to him as you can see obviously.
So, is working hard the secret for success? Yes, it should be. Nevertheless, it is not enough. Here is the issue: you can’t really work hard on a bad choice. Remember, working 10 to 12 hours per day or even more does not mean that you are working hard.
Working hard means that you consistently put your effort, time, energy and thoughts in your job over a period of time. I means that you are engaged rationally and emotionally in organizational movement.
You can’t bring your ass of out bed for work every morning because you hate your job? You don’t enjoy your responsibilities at all because it goes against your beliefs or morals? You are spending many hours hanging around, gossiping and surfing internet during office hours? you stay very late in the office just because everyone else does the same while you hate it? This is not “working hard”, it is “wasting hard” unfortunately. You are not able to commit yourself to where your company is heading to, what your leadership is aiming at, you are a disengaged employee. I might not be your fault, it might be the fault of not matching the vision and values of both sides.
And those are examples of bad choice. If we are wasting hard, we are not at any chance of success. We need a smart choice to work hard on it.
Then, what is a smart choice?
Why Bill Gate and Steve Jobs quit university to work with full of energy? Why Albert Einstein spent most of his hours in Lab leaving his stomach empty? And why Ronaldo can repeat times in doing only one thing, footballing, every single day in many years?
The answer is, again, very simple: it is passion and strength!
Working smart is more about “choice”- the choice that leverages on your passion, strengths as well as the personal fundamentals (values, beliefs, morals) to reach your objectives. That is the smart choice by what I mean it. One important note, your smart choice has to bring value to others, such as customer or society…, if not, your passion and strength won’t make any sense in earning your living.
Smart choice is the condition of working hard. You can’t really work hard on a bad choice.
If you do things at your wrong fit, it will burn your energy and passion. The more you work the less happy you become. Under this scenario, you hardly have chance to be successful or you might lose yourself in such a success because that success is actually is defined by other people around you, not by you. In fact, you can’t truly work hard when you choose the wrong things. When we are doing what we are passionate about and capable of, the right fit will unleash our ability significantly. I had several lessons facing both of the scenarios in my 18 year career.
Unfortunately, “80% of people around the world are dissatisfied with their jobs” - a survey by Deloitte.
Warren Buffet says: “There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn't that a little like saving up sex for your old ages?”
For those who love what you do, congratulations!. For those who are stuck at work as indicated by Deloitte’s survey, you may want to consider Warrant Buffet’s advice.
Many people like to say “work smarter not harder”. Can you make a smart choice if you have never worked hard? For my case, the answer is “no”, I did not know what I should really do after several years of doing many things.
People are learning by doing. Everyone has passion or unique strength, any it is often uncovered by life pushing around and self- enlightenment. Some of us can recognize our passion early such as Bill Gate or Steve jobs or some even know it earlier. However, many of us may only know what we should be doing about after the 60th birthday, if they don’t change enough, don’t push their life enough. I hope that won’t happen to you J
If you have been working very hard and still don’t know why you are doing things that you are doing today, step back and make a smart choice first, don’t just keep working hard blindly. If you are still very young and not yet spending considerable times working hard, then working hard is what you need to go for now, don’t think too much about “work smart” yet; remember that we have a saying “khôn đâu đến trẻ khỏe đâu đến già”. When you “stay hungry, stay foolish” – Steve Jobs, you will find yourself. Do it first “you will win or learn”. Just bear in mind, you have to avoid a bad choice so you will be working hard but not wasting hard, by intuition and with your values, you will know when it comes to a bad choice for you.
Along my 18 career, I have made some smart choices and some bad choices. I want to have my thought on the question “work harder or smarter?”; Young people tend to choose “work smarter not harder”, probably because it sounds “bright”. Unfortunately, it does not work that way in reality. So, it is not about “work hard or work smart”, you definitely need both. Therefore, I like to put it this way: work hard, make mart choice and work hard on it. Speeding up this cycle will allow us to make the best of ourselves, I have learnt so.
Duong Nguyen, Founder of Cempartner