Many of us understand that we have to work hard to succeed, in fact all of us. But somehow things do not go as planned or no results can be shown for the amount of hours we put in. Unfortunately, at this stage most just decide to abandon their hard-working intentions and let go of their hazy ambitions.  These ambitions are hazy in that they are not specific enough, they cannot be visualized and therefore they are meaningless. People without crystal clear goals and set timelines just do not have the ability to work hard enough, although they do work hard. At the end of the day they feel tired, as if that was the goal associated with hard work.  Do you ever feel tired at the end of the day without any additional steps taking you closer to your goals?  Then you need to change your approach.

There are only 5 rules that are associated with hard work that yields results.  

  • Hard work must be associated with a meaningful reason, i.e an ambitious goal;
  • The goal must have a deadline;
  • Both the goal and deadline have to be known by others in order to create commitment and accountability
  • There must be something at stake if we do not accomplish the set goal;
  • Hard work must hurt.

Hard workers must make sure that there is a meaningful reason for them to work hard, to accomplish a particular goal which must be ambitious enough to make a difference to your life. In other words the hard work must be worth it for you.

There must be a set deadline to accomplish a goal.  I have come across a number of students who want a degree without accompanying timelines and also a number of professionals with ambitions without any set timelines or deadlines. There can be no urgency if there are no deadlines.  When there is no sense of urgency, fertile ground for procrastination gets created.  We all know that “Procrastination is the thief of time, and time lost is like money spent which will never be regained.”

If others are not aware of your goals and the deadlines, you are not committed enough and you make it easy for yourself to fail as no one else will know about it and you will forgive yourself all the time.  Sometimes the mere imagination of telling others you failed, makes it easy for you to work hard as you know they are waiting to share your excitement of success and you don’t want to let them down. That in itself creates an unwavering commitment and accountability which can only propel you towards success.

“Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos .Aenean non turpis vitae ligula tristique sagitt isras varius erat pulvinar eros pretium”

If we make ourselves goals, that if accomplished will not make much difference to our lives, then we may as well spend our time watching movies, soccer games and shopping.  The goal must be so ambitious it must scare you and if achieved your life has to change for the better.  This then means that a lot must be at stake if you do not achieve your goal.  Once a lot is at stake for not achieving your goal, adrenalin gets pumped out to assist your system to have the stamina to work hard enough to achieve your goal.  You cannot be working hard within your comfort zone and without feeling stretched, as stretching out of your normal capabilities helps you to reach out towards your ambitious goal.

Last but not least, Hard work must hurt, for if it does not hurt, it’s not hard enough.  If your hard work does not hurt, it means you are still cruising at your normal comfort zone.  If you give whatever is within your comfort zone and you do not stretch yourself, then it means you will accomplish results that will keep you at the same level as you were before. The more you stretch yourself and learn about your new capabilities, the more it hurts, and the more your achievements will take you to the next level and make you accomplish your ambitious goals.

Hard work must hurt in two ways, firstly, through the sacrifices you make (of the things you really love) to create time for hard work, and through the effort you put in that makes you feel the pain, for it is at that point that you can say are working hard towards a particular goal.

One professor said, “the pain of failure must be more than the pain of studying” when he was encouraging his students to aim to pass the exams.

As we work hard, we must make sure that we don’t only feel tired at the end of the day but we must carry with us the pain of anticipated failure in our studies, in our work and in our careers and always make sure that you can feel the appropriate pain that will enable you to succeed.  The well-known phrase, “No pain, No gain” is very true.

So indeed, “Hard Work: if it does not hurt, it’s not hard enough”  Sindi Zilwa