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Now, most of us would have learned that hard work is the only mantra for success from our parents. They would have got the same learning from their parents. We would have felt that it was true when we were studying. We always heard the first ranker say things like “I used to study 8 hours a day” and similar things. So, the harder you work, the better results you get. That seemed to rhyme for some time.
But as you progressed in life, you realized that the hard worker is not the best earner. You saw your colleagues or bosses or subordinates, who worked less but gave the best results. Best results mean better appraisals, and better appraisal means better income. So, smart work seemed to be the way to go. Not only your observations but also all the mentors, coaches, and gurus called for smart work. So, smart work made sense.
Despite these two schools of thought, we aren’t completely committed to either. We keep thinking about whether it should be hard work or smart work. We keep yo-yo-ing between the two. So, what is the correct way?
Both the rationale were the best for their times. Our parents' and grandparents' time was one with scarce opportunities to earn. So, the only way to prosper was to do what you did with complete dedication. In other words, the one who worked more than the other had a good chance of progressing ahead. So, hard work was the best way ahead.
With the progression of time, the opportunities also expanded. A person needn’t be focused on doing his work in the traditional way of doing it. Computers came in, a faster way of working came in, the cloud took technology to a whole new level, so doing what you did in a smart way made sense. The smart worker embracing technology and getting things done faster progressed faster too. So, the concept of smart working rhymed for the time. That time has still not gone.
So, then what is the right way to do it? Smart way or the hard way?
Hard work in the wrong area of life could lead you to do more and achieve less. The saying is that if hard work made the king, then the donkeys would be ruling the roost. But we all know that the Lion is the king, don't we? So, how much does the Lion work? Well, it sleeps most of the day. 😊
Smart work is great, but it also comes with the notion of doing less for more. Remember, the focus was never about doing less. It was about doing what you had to do smartly. Even in your work environment, smart work is wrongly assumed to be delegation. While delegation itself isn’t bad, but delegation without direction is. So, what you delegate and how much you delegate to get the work done effectively is the need of the hour. Even a Lion knows which prey to attack and which prey to approach with caution. So, that’s the smart part of it.
The question remains, what is the best way forward?
At the turn of the 21st century, the opportunities available for people grew exponentially. That means, if we chose to do hard work, then we may end up choosing the wrong opportunity to start with. On the other hand, a smart worker may identify the best opportunity but would not do much post that. Here’s where we need - a blend of both schools of thought.
A smart approach should help us find the best opportunity, the best way to work given the opportunity, and the most effective way to make the most. Simultaneously, once the opportunity is identified, we need to give all that we have towards the opportunity. That’s the hard-working part of it.
Elon Musk gives weightage to hard work in your chosen field of work. The smart work is to choose the right field – which was Tesla and Space X in Elon’s case – and then give it all you have. The latter is the hard work part of it. You can’t argue much with Elon as he is the richest man on the planet, and his organizations are the ones with the biggest market cap.
So, a blend of smart and hard work is the need of the hour. It is defining the essence of the current generation. The millions of opportunities available out there can be tackled with a smart mind and hard resolve. Can you see that that is the way ahead? I bet you do now. 😊
We now get the idea of how a smart-cum-hard worker is well placed to succeed among the ever-increasing challenges as much as the opportunities available. So, keep yourself open to opt for the smart choice and then put all your focus and energy into making your smart choice work. That’s your new age mantra.
Have fun with your work, and remember to be smart and hardworking! 😊