How important is hard work…really?

I will never forget the day my father drove home his beautiful yellow Porsche for the first time.  My brothers and I just stood there with our jaws wide open until my father pointed out his favorite part of the car – the license plate – that read “HRD WORK”. But how important is hard work, really?

Hard work has always been a pillar of my upbringing but the day he brought home that car was different.  This was a real life testament to my brothers and I that hard work truly does pays off.  That specific car was my fathers dream car since he was a kid and after years and years of dedicated hard work, it was his.

But how important is hard work, really?  Do we need to work hard if we want to be successful? Is hard work the only way to produce results? Plenty of people get through life without working hard or applying themselves and seem perfectly happy.  There are also plenty of people who are naturally gifted who find great success in life with what appears to be little effort.  So is hard work really essential for success? Let’s find out…

Before I get started, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room.  My generation (gen y) is stuck in the middle of a few drastically different generations (Gen X & Xennials versus Gen  Z & Gen Alpha).  It’s like the ultimate game of Tug-of-War and my generation is the rope…

When it comes to the concept of hard work and success, these generations have drastically different perceptions of each. From my parents generations (Gen X), they typically embrace a belief that hard work and good old fashion dedicated perseverance are key drivers of success, whereas the newer generations have fully embraced the adage “work smarter not harder” with technology as its foundation.

Believe it or not, this causes a big disconnect between those drastically different generations and me and my gen y buddies are stuck in the middle forced to pick a side…

But can’t we meet somewhere in the middle?

I do believe hard work is the foundation for success and my fathers Porsche (+license plate) and the lifestyle that I grew up with are a testament to exactly that.  But I also believe that the newer generations are onto something with their beliefs that if there is a way to “work smarter” and conserve resources (time, energy and stress) then it’s worth exploring.

We only have so much time an energy in the day and those resources are extremely valuable.  If there is a way we can become more efficient and still accomplish our goal… why wouldn’t we take it?  Putting our nose down and grinding through the hard work isn’t always our best option. Sometimes there is an “easier way” to accomplish the same results (or accomplish better results with the same resources).

So here’s what I’m thinking…

What if instead of working smarter OR harder we focused on “working hard in the smartest ways”.

This means refusing to accept that what worked yesterday is our only option moving forward.  This means continuously exploring new and improved ways of accomplishing our goals and objectives in a more efficient way.  This means applying ourselves whole-heartedly to whatever we set out to accomplish and finally, and here’s the kicker…This means collaborating with people from other generations to gain invaluable perspectives that we otherwise wouldn’t have.

I do believe that hard work is the backbone for success but I also believe that there are always opportunities to work hard in smarter ways.

Let me hear your thoughts below…

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