Reasons Why Hard Work Doesn’t Automatically Lead to Success
I asked one of my students what he felt the future looks like for him, he smiled, as usual. initially, I thought he was about to say something mischievous (he is very mischievous), but he smiled thoughtfully; I could literally count the seconds with which he gazed at mine, probably fine-tuning his answer in his mind, as though I had asked a philosophical question that needs a jaw-breaking answer.
“I want an easy life,” he said, I was not too surprised by this reply. His reply seems lazy, just as he is to some extent lazy regarding his academics; He trails the other students in the class. Other teachers presume laziness was his Achilles heel. However, this reply got me thinking, it is an undiluted fact that every human being wants an easy life, a life where wishes become reality: but is there really an easy life anywhere? We all know that successful people have the same story of how they burnt candlesticks, arched their backs in hard work, and how their body oozed perspiration while they strived to make a name for themselves. They inspire us to be achievers by saying, in most cases, that hard work is the key to success.
Handwork seems to be one of the important elements of the formulae for their success stories. But I have often wonder why this same important element of success has not worked out for the man who hawks his wares on the streets of Lagos, or the woman who sales tomato, tatashe and rodo under the bridge at Oshodi. These people work from dawn to dusk, they perspire all day long, when you talk about diligence, they are outstanding, but at the end of the day, poverty is still a status they are glued to. Hard work has not transformed their life, not a little, at least as far as I know.
Laziness is no doubt a curse, it is a disease beyond cure; even the reverend Apostle Paul disapproved of any form of idleness when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonians. As a matter of fact, it is only dead people who can conveniently be called lazy. This is because they don’t lift a finger, they don’t have a reason to. Every living being including animals has no choice but to strive in one way or the other to satisfy some needs in other to survive. For me, every human being is hard working, in one way or the other, even the robber who steals from you, work as hard as the policeman in uniform. However, I wonder why the majority of human beings still have poverty to grapple with.
Apart from the mental work or head work must be educated, successful or rich people do, I do not think that rich folks are as hardworking as most unfulfilled people. This is because the aboki who push truck for a living do so with little time for rest, he doesn’t even go on vacation. This reality proves the logic of the popular Yoruba proverb “ise logun ise” wrong. Hard work does not make a man successful or fulfilled, it, in fact, makes a visionless man more miserable. Hard work for visionless men is a medium for mere sustenance and survival, not a breakthrough.
People work hard for different reasons, some are too afraid they would starve to death if they don’t; others do so because it is what the society prescribes. For instance, an employee works so hard to fulfill the dreams of somebody else in other not to lose the job, because he feels insecure outside his job; he’s afraid his bills wouldn’t be paid when he quit chasing his own dreams.
My pastor is fond of saying that “prosperity is not answerable to prayer”, I sincerely concur; prayer is hard work without direction. I have seen religiously obstinate people; people who attend religious programs more than they visit the toilet. They invest most of their time, money and energy in religious centers and at the bosom of prophets all in the name of miracles; yet, the perspiration from these religious exercises has not washed the wrinkle of poverty and wretchedness off their faces. This is because prayer just like hard-work does not change the status of a man.
While it is important to note that hard work cannot be subtracted from the formula for success, it does not guarantee success, hard word basically account for 10 percent of the ingredient needed to succeed. Working hard could be as worthless as pushing a car to a particular destination instead of driving it. Now it is imperative to ask then, what makes a successful person successful? Hard work or smart work? Smart work, basically, helps a person gravitate towards a destination with purpose, hard work, on the other hand, may mean gravitating to nowhere like a piece of dirt toss by the wind.
Success and fulfillment can be achieved with the combination of elements such as dreams, desire, determination, and hard work, of course; without ruling out the importance of education and enlightenment. All these are important for success. These ingredients must be in the right proportions. For instance, success is, to some extent, limited to the level of education a person has attained. A valid dream is also of great importance. Our dreams drive other elements. For this reason, hard work may be important, but it is not the key to success; it is merely the wheel of the vehicle to success.
Humans are quick to point to laziness as the cause of a person’s failures and poverty. It is time we re-educate ourselves, the Agberos on the streets of Lagos wake up as early as 4 am to start their job, and they are the last to close for the day, but they still can boast of the amount some CEOs pay their drivers. These street guys are more physically agile than these CEOs-who sometime decide when, and when not to go to their workplace. What really distinguishes them? It should be noted that this piece to not to undermine the importance of hard work, but to correct some misconception about it: Hard work without purpose does not prompt prosperity it only adds to the weight of poverty.