Hard work is not the cause; it’s a consequence

Hard work pays off.

We all have heard some version of this countless times. And every time we heard it, if we believed it, we felt like we should be doing more, working harder, in order to achieve “our goals” (whatever this means).

But really, is hard work “the” secret? Is it a magic formula? Is working hard all that we have to do is order to succeed?

If I jump off a building, gravity will ensure that I’ll fall down. That’s guaranteed. But is hard work like gravity? Will I succeed because of hard work the same way I would fall down because of gravity?

Of course not. We all know that’s not the case. Hard work does not cause success. The people who work the hardest are those who live in the shittiest conditions.

Or are you going to tell me that slave owners worked harder than their slaves? If work hard causes success, why haven’t slaves achieved greater success than their masters in the past?

Because hard work does not cause success. Never did. Never will.

There are only 2 types of people who say that hard work pays off:

  1. Rich people who have lots of employees and would benefit if they believed that working hard is the answer;
  2. Naive people who are desperate to believe that there’s is a secret which will guarantee their success.

I’ve never been rich, so I used to be in the second category. I wanted to be successful (meaning that I wanted other people to think of me as a successful man), and so I desperately needed to believe that there was a secret formula, a guaranteed path to success.

So I believed the world of rich people who had lost of employees. Those rich people said that hard work was the answer, because they needed their employees to work hard. And nothing makes one working harder than believing that working hard the secret to a better life.

I’m done believing in secret formulas for success. There is no formula. It’s all luck.

The reason why hard work is considered to be a secret to success if because almost every successful person seems to be a hard worker. And that’s true, successful people do work hard.

But it’s not that they are successful because they work hard. No, no. They work hard because for them is not work. They just enjoy what they’re doing it.

Do you think that Stephen Hawking did science because he had to? Do you think that he would tell himself, “Oh gosh, I hate science, but I have to do it because I want to be a successful scientist.”?

Of course not. Stephen Hawking did science because, for him, science was fun. He enjoyed doing science, and so he would spend most of his time doing science, and that would look like hard work for people from the outside. But for Stephen, it was just fun.

Working hard is not the cause of success. It’s the consequence of doing what you love. If you’re lucky enough to find that thing you love doing, you’ll spend as much time as possible doing it. People who don’t love the same thing will look at you and will think that you are working hard, when in reality you’re just having fun.

There are people who are actually working hard, spending a lot of time and energy on things they don’t really enjoy. These are the people who hate their jobs and are miles way from what anyone could call “successful.”

But if you can find something you enjoy so much, that you spend so much time on it that will make others think you’re working hard, then you are already successful.