In Defense of Hustle

It seems lately I’ve heard sentiments deriding the effort required of hard work. “Work smarter, not harder” is the perfect sentiment because for someone to be efficient with one’s time, they must work smart. But smarter work is still work.

In this interview, Ric Edelman, founder and chairman of Edelman Financial Services, talks about how wealthy people work both smart and hard. He says that “what you must equally do is work smart, not merely hard.” Equally. Success requires both. However, the article title is “Top Financial Adviser: Just working hard will not make you wealthy.”

The goal is not to eliminate hard work. Michael Jordan wasn’t great for merely working smarter. He had to work both smart and hard to become the greatest basketball player to ever touch a court. Kobe Bryant is a very intelligent man, knowing multiple languages and starting his own personal brand. But he didn’t become one of the NBA’s all time scoring leaders by intelligence alone. His work ethic even at 18 was exceptional, even by NBA standards.

This message doesn’t only apply to athletes, of course. Smart, efficient, hard work is the one thing that any person can give regardless of who they are or what they have. There’s a reason athletes and rappers brag about the hustle. They’ve gotten where they want to be by giving the effort to get there.

There are no shortcuts to success that don’t require effort. However, the shortest path between two point is a straight line. Working smarter and more efficiently is the straight line between where you are and where you want to be.

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