A few weeks back I talked about how success doesn’t take as much work as many people think. That brings up the question: Should you work hard or work smart? Which is better?
What about working smarter? As I’ve talked about before, despite the fact that I’m a reasonably smart guy, the business world and the internet are filled with men who are much smarter than me but who make far less money than I do.
When I was an I.T. consultant, my city was filled with other I.T. consultants who were far smarter than me, had many more years experience than me, and had more technical knowledge than me. These guys were really, really smart. They worked smart.
Yet, I made double, and in some cases, triple what they made, providing the exact same service to the exact same market.
My blogs regularly attract intelligent men. It’s not unusual to see a man post a comment who clearly has an equivalent or higher I.Q. than I do, and often more formal education too. (I never went to college, by choice.)
I also see other blogs, forums, and social media filled with very smart guys, guys who I’m sure are smarter than me. These guys work smart…
…yet most of these guys have never made more than $30,000 a year and probably never will. And here I am, making a healthy six-figure income, and doing so all the way back to when I was 27.
In the business world, I regularly encounter really smart business owners with really good, creative, and smart ideas to get rich or grow their businesses. They work smart. Yet most of these guys never seem to actually make the money they want. A few do, but most do not.
So I don’t think working smart is the answer.
Working hard must be the answer then, right?
Well, I work pretty hard, that’s true. I work seven days a week. It’s never a full “eight hour day,” but I work hard in that I work relentlessly in pursuit of my goals. I always have, and I will never retire, since I like to work.
Yet, I see plenty of Mexican landscape workers mowing lawns in the blazing heat ten hours a day, or Mexican or Filipino housekeepers who work for hotels cleaning toilets all day long, or people who work at call centers, on the phone literally all day long with a 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks.
These people work way, WAY harder than me. Seriously, it’s not even close. These people are busting their asses eight, nine, ten hours a day, working very hard, doing extremely difficult work. The guy who mows my lawn works much harder than me in ways where I almost feel sorry for him. (Almost.)
When it comes to working hard, all of these people easily kick my ass. Yet I earn in one or two months what a lot of these people earn in an entire year.
So no, working hard isn’t the answer either.
What is the answer then?
It’s pretty easy. The answer is that you need to do both.
I’m successful because I work smart and I work hard. I don’t do one or the other. I don’t even do one or the other to an amazing degree (since as you can see above, there are millions of people in the world who beat me in both categories yet make far less money than I do). But I do work both hard and smart, at the same time, together, always. I never work hard without first making sure I work smart. Then I work hard.
I don’t work hard at something that I know won’t make me a lot of money either now or in the long-term. That’s stupid.
I also don’t sit around and think about stuff, read about stuff, research stuff, debate with people on the internet, but never actually get off my ass and execute my smart ideas. That’s lazy.
Instead, I do both. I research, think, plan, and then I get off my ass and work very hard at executing my plan, and I don’t stop working hard until my plan is done, even if it takes a few years. I work hard and smart, both, always.
This system not only works, but works in ways that will amaze you. I am successful in ways far beyond what I planned when I first sat down and set some lofty goals for my life at age 18. This is what working hard and smart does.
You can do it too. If you want it badly enough.