If You Work Hard, You Will Not Be Successful
Perhaps the most enduring scam of the century is the myth of hard work.
Hard work is the reason that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos rose to pre-eminence and unfathomable wealth. Hard work is the central factor in Rihanna’s ascent to global icon in the millennium. Hard work is why you, dear reader, are where you are right now.
Unfortunately, I am here to tell you that if you work hard, you will not be successful.
Hang on. This is not a klaxon call to quit your gym membership or stop studying for your degree. In fact, in these specific examples, a certain amount of hard work is directly correlated to a measurable outcome of success.
The harder you work in the gym, the more likely you are to see the results that you crave. The harder you study and revise, the more likely you are to do well in your exam. The harder you work on a dream, passion or within a specific field, the more likely you are to materialise your vision.
But that’s it. It’s not a guarantee.
Stop the weird rituals
Whilst scrolling absent-mindedly on my social media platforms, I often come across a well-intentioned post which emphasises the necessity of extreme hard work in success.
The example is often a public figure, one who undoubtedly has an eye-watering net-worth, followed by a number of obscene daily rituals and out-of-context habits which are the KEYS TO SUCCESS.
Such rituals can include waking up at 4am, meditating for six hours every day, completing a handstand during breaks at work, drinking an ominous-looking health smoothie once a day, going to the gym three times a day, and many more.
Underpinning the named rituals is a not-so-subtle shaming of the common man who indulges in 8-hour sleep, the simple 9–5 work, or watching ‘trash TV’. Every moment of your waking life must be consumed with the pursuit of success lest you remain like the “99.9%” who have, supposedly, failed in life.
You may breathe easily. Put down the smoothie. And go to bed.
It is 4am.
It is okay to sleep. It is also okay to indulge in reality TV too — I promise, you will not be compromising your entire future wealth building capabilities.
The myth of hard work and culture
The myth of hard work has formed a culture which, when taken to extremities, glorifies the most peculiar forms of self-flagellation in the pursuit of success. Drinking 6+ cups of coffees to ‘increase productivity’ and only sleeping 3 hours a night makes for a wonderful rag to riches tale.
Unfortunately, we rarely hear of the access to networks, opportunities and sheer luck which propels a lot of ‘successful’ people forward. Many people have worked hard and this is not an attack on such an undoubtable fact, but they have definitely had major lucky breaks, great opportunities and access to spaces that others may not have. In some ways, they have been blessed.
Finding the balance
Overworking significantly degrades your quality of life. Chasing your passions and working towards a goal should not overwork you to the point of despising your present. Usually, it’s living cultivating your present self that will prepare you to bear the brunt of a future you desire.
Life is all about balance — it is perfectly feasible to ‘work hard’ which does not mean putting your physical and mental state at risk due to a boot-strapping narrative which does not take into account the specificities of your own story.
Yes, work hard. But do not kill yourself in the process. After all, I think it would be prudent to live long enough to experience your definition of success.
Don’t you think so?