Why Hard Work Doesn’t Guarantee Success

SUCCESS IS NO ACCIDENT- It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you’re doing. - Pelé

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Everyone knows that it is important to work hard, to succeed. While growing up, both parents and teachers taught us to be disciplined. According to them, it would prevent us from failure. Yet, what I’ve observed over time is simple. That someone has zeal, passion, discipline, or work ethics does not prevent them from being a commoner.

Many hardworking folks have repeatedly asked, “How is it that I am such a workaholic with little or nothing to show for it?” I have a relative I admire a lot because he is smart and disciplined. He exerts his energy in whatever he does. However, he does not live comfortably. His story helped me realize that beyond hard work, other factors make a person successful.

What is Success?

In his book, Born to Win, the late Zig Ziglar argued that success cannot be defined in one sentence. Instead, it is comprised of many things. Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra further defines success as a matter of constant growth. He says that success is the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.

From this, we can say that success has little to do with financial security, but more to do with passion, talent, and impact. It is also how you use your ability to make the world better, and earn yourself wealth. This means that though hard work is the bedrock of success, it is not its strength.

How Can You Become Successful?

There are specific values that successful people hold in high esteem. These fundamental values and actions transform a hard working person to a successful person. They are helping me, and I know that they’ll help you, too.

1. Keep Tangible Relationships

Many of us are too comfortable with our comfort zone. And so it takes an ample measure of emotional energy to reach out to those around us. There are people you’ve known for quite some time, yet do not utilize the relationship you have with them.

The truth remains that when you interact with others, especially those you admire, you’re a step towards your dream. No man is an Island. At one time or another, you would need people to push you to the next level. It will do you no good, continuing to hang around those who only care for you, but don’t steer you to critical thinking.

Suppose you’re not interested in building a relationship with people who have up-to-date perspectives about things. You’d end up a mediocre. So, challenge yourself, reach out, build enlightening relationships, and learn to utilize them.

2. Devote to Investment

Right, you’ve worked hard. Hence, you’ve earned all the treatment you can get. But, you need to be careful. Don’t spend all your earnings on what only grants you immediate gratification. Investment goes a long way to help build the empire you envision. It is undoubtedly a way to become successful while working hard.

They say that little drops of water make a mighty ocean- it’s true. Set aside a part of your income each month to purchase, e.g., shares, real properties, or any other investment plans you come across. Don’t make a habit of making impulsive buys, or lavishing your hard-earned money on things capable of fizzling out.

Someone that wants to build wealth cannot rely on their salary. Instead, they invest in things that earn regular rates in return. So, be willing to grow your money. Make inquiries, take appropriate actions, and let your money build itself. It is in doing that that you create time.

3. Kill The Entitlement Mentality

Though you graduated top of your class or were named ‘Most likely to succeed,’ you don’t automatically gain an edge over others. And that’s because brilliance doesn’t mean smartness. People who did well in school may have done so because of their capacity to assimilate or even cram. Whatever worked for them then, may not give an edge in life. It is easy to read books to pass, but succeeding in life is no smooth ride.

Remember that to gain results, you must define your success path by engaging other factors for success. So, you need to become strategic in thinking, make the right decisions, manage your time well, overlook hindrances, and remain goal-oriented. That’s what helps you to scale the ladder of success.

4. Focus on Self-discovery

It’s common to see hardworking folks who are Jacks of all trade. You may find it challenging to choose from the many doors opened to you. But the thing about running around and trying out all those opportunities is that time keeps ticking.

I know someone who attended numerous graduate school programs, one after another. Yet, after ten years, she couldn’t figure out what to do. What lost time!

Rather than dabbling into many endeavors, I suggest you invest in self-discovery. Meet up with a life coach, or someone who’s succeeding at your area of interest. They can help you find and work with what you need to become a pro.

Our society only roots for those who have discovered themselves, and do their best. You would only be able to fit in if you do the same.

5. Maximize your Potential

Stop underestimating your abilities by being your own number one critic. Most of the successful people you see in the world choose themselves over society. Microsoft co-founder and one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates believed so much in his potential that he refused to go to college. He knew he would not get what he needed there.

If you are interested in succeeding, you have to attempt taking a walk in the shoes of great people. Set your goals. Even if you are not an entrepreneur, take a risk to work around what you have discovered to be your passion. Begin to build on it by harnessing your talents. Do all it takes to become more professional at what you do. It will bring you to the table of successful men.

6. Become a Risk-taker

To thrive in today’s world, you need to take risks. I know too many smart people who are not fulfilled with their jobs. They want to do something different. But they cringe at the fear of trying new things. Their interest in safety stifles their growth.

Binta Niambi Brown, a corporate lawyer, took a leap into the unknown in 2013. She started a business in a niche with stiff competition. But yes, that was a challenge. And in 2015, she launched Fermata Entertainment, a production and artist management company based in Brooklyn, New York.

Binta’s background in Corporate law could earn her an Executive position in any record label. Yet, she chose another path- push herself beyond limits. She has wonderful stories to share today. To succeed, you must be willing to push yourself.

7. Be Consistent and Persistent

On the path to success, you’d encounter obstacles. Let’s be clear on this, you would make mistakes, and fail at some things. That is often the journey of every successful person I know.

Did you hear about Abraham Lincoln’s stride to the White House? Do you think he became President on a platter of gold? No. But Lincoln never gave up. No matter how many times he failed, he followed his dream. He remained persistent and achieved results.

An emphasis on this: stay focused, regardless of defeat. Don’t be too quick to accept setbacks. Observe where you missed it, improve on it, and start all over again.

Final Thoughts

It is glaring that skills and talents alone cannot get you to succeed. And it doesn’t matter how hard you work at them. If you neglect other critical factors, you would barely achieve your dreams.

To become successful, you need to take note of the seven tips shared. When you do, you transform from a merely hardworking person to someone with recognized success.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Is the ‘Head-Start in Life’ Narrative Really Overrated?

by Hamse Abdilahi

The Most Important Characteristic for Success Might Not Be What You Think It Is

by Thomas Oppong

Choose Smart Work Over Hard Work- Max Weiss

by Alexander Maxwell
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.