Why I No Longer Emphasize “Working Hard”, But Rather Focus on these 5 Strategies to Achieve My Goals

If hard work was really all we were raised to believe, my Parents ought to be listed amongst today’s World billionaires (lol). But that is the sad truth because growing up, all I ever heard was “you need to work very hard in order to become successful.” Even though my Parents are both currently retired, while still actively working, they were the embodiment of “hard work”, and boy did they really work hard!

My Parents (both Civil Servants, working for the Government), worked hard to ensure that we had a stable life while growing up. You see, even though they spent all their working years really working hard, we only just barely lived comfortable lives, but never anything near affluence. My Father would leave for work very early in the morning, and came back late from the Office, sometimes with piles of files that still needed to be attended to before the next day.

And growing up as children, we were always told to study hard at school, work very hard and get good jobs that would help us take care of our families. I must confess that because that was all we were used to, that was what we eventually did. The idea that working very hard was what guaranteed our future only spurred us to work even harder.

Courage is grace under pressure.Pic1.jpgPhoto by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

However, I started to get really confused about the concept of working hard when I got into College. Coming from a background where all that was emphasized was working hard, I decided to give my College education 150 percent of myself. Because of the peculiarity of our training, whereby the system itself made getting a College education like a tedious mountain climb, I made up my mind that the next 6 years of my life had to be lived right by working really hard in my education if I wanted to excel academically. And that was what I started to do until I noticed that some of my colleagues were going about their own education in a completely different way.

While I and some others held very strongly to the concept of “working hard” and nothing else, some other colleagues of mine obviously had other ideas about how to go about their own education. Why I and the “hard working ones” spent all our time in tutorial sessions and never missed out on any classes, these other sets of students spent several nights and weekends partying and really having a lot of fun. And the surprising thing that struck me was that we all often ended having near-similar grades after an assessment or exam. That was when I decided to find out the secret to their seemingly “awkward success.”

In carrying out my own little investigation, I found out that these other students, rather than working really hard like the rest of us, had taken their time to understand the educational system, that they instead “worked smart.” They understood that the Medical curriculum was broad and that the possibility of being tested on every single thing we had been taught during the Semester was low. So, what did they do?

Courage is grace under pressure.Pic2.jpgPhoto by jesse orrico on Unsplash

After having a good time for the greater part of a Semester, they would then focus on the “emphasis topics” often highlighted by our Lecturers close to an assessment or semester examination, and then dedicate all their reading to those areas, as most of the assessment questions ended upcoming from those emphasized topics. That was the magic! And understanding this smart approach, made the rest of my Medical education seamless and less stressful.

That experience from College and that of my Parents taught me that when presented with the 2 options: ‘working hard or working smart’, I would rather go for working smart. I want to get things done in less time while achieving greater and better results than the person who is spending all their time and energy working very hard.

This is not to say that working hard is bad, but according to Tai Lopez, “if you are feeling burned out with your work or at your job- then you are working too hard. Working smarter will reignite that fire you once had for the work you do. You will be putting in less effort, but having better results to show for it.” If you are still wondering what the concept of working smarter entails, Tai also explains that, “what you put in or how much time you spend, doesn’t correlate to how much you earn. That’s where working smarter comes in.”

Life is a beautiful thing, and you shouldn’t spend the entirety of it, working really hard. There has to be a better way of getting more things done in less time and achieving better outcomes. That is the “working smart” mentality. Can you imagine that the top 10 richest people in the world make more money than the bottom 3.5 billion people combined! What does that say to you? Some people are really putting to great use the brains that God has blessed them with. Why don’t you begin to figure out how to make your life easier, by adopting a different approach to life? It is time to think friend!

Courage is grace under pressure.Pic3.jpgPhoto by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Personally, I set S.M.A.R.T goals for myself, and I have long given up the idea that only hard workers turn out successful. So, here are the 5 strategies I employ to achieve my goals, including of course working smart:

  1. I always look for the Smarter way, Not the Harder way to do my job or work, in order to achieve my goals, because harder is not synonymous with better. For example, in ensuring that my work week is always productive, I pre-plan for it on Friday, listing out everything I want to achieve for the next week. That way, I do not need to come in on a Monday morning and spend time figuring out what I need to get done for the week, as I would already have it pre-planned from the previous Friday.
  2. I apply Common Sense in my activities. I always use good judgment in making decisions and ensure that while trying to work smart, I do not engage in anything unethical or get involved with anything that would jeopardize the well-being of others.
  3. I hinge on the wings of Courage. Sometimes I encounter challenges while working on a project, and at other times a project may be laced with so many uncertainties that without courage, I wouldn’t even attempt to move forward. But in remembering Ernest Hemingway’s words which says, “Courage is Grace under pressure”, I keep pushing along despite any obstacles I encounter. And one other thing that helps me keep forging ahead is the comfort that comes from the realization that, if others have accomplished it, then I too would be able to accomplish it. If you want to get something done, then you just have to believe in something bigger than yourself and your abilities and remain confident that anything is possible. That keeps me highly motivated.
  4. I embrace the comfort of Patience. I understand that achieving my goals may not happen right away. Sometimes things get slowed down or go completely out of bearing to what I may have anticipated. But recognizing and appreciating the virtue called patience, helps me stay focused and motivated with the assurance that my own time would come.
  5. I soak myself up in my Faith, which always assures me that everything would eventually work out for my good, irrespective of the bumps and bends I encounter along the way.

In wrapping this up, what would you rather do? Do you want to keep working very hard, or are you ready to get things done smarter, in less time and with the attitude of a Victor? Why don’t you jump in on my wagon and let’s get the ball rolling? You deserve the best! So, go for it!

To your continued success. Cheers!!!

Evi Abada




6 Comments Add yours

  1. Perpetua says:

    Well done. The tagline S.M.A.R.T. has all the elements of success in life. It’s funny that I just posted the Ehos in life that we can’t take money with us in the end.


    1. Evi Abada says:

      Thank you so Perpetua for reading my article and for your thoughtful comments. I totally appreciate it.


  2. Absolutely, work smarter not harder.


    1. Evi Abada says:

      Thank you so much for your comments Coach Mimi. I totally appreciate it.


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