Hard Work or a Secret Formula?

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison

Consistency and hard work are two of the least discussed methods for success these days. Much of today’s marketing and advertising is about selling a magic pill, a secret formula, or a newly discovered shortcut that will transform your life within a few minutes hours or days and poof you’ll reach your goal and live happily every after. Whether a company is trying to sell a weight loss product or a home-business starter kit, they are usually promising extreme success very quickly. Advertisers will also associate that extreme success with happiness and fulfillment. They will show how happy Stacy looks after she just lost 20 pounds. They wont bring up how many of her older friends are now a bit jealous of Stacy getting all the attention and prefer not to go out with her to social events. They will not tell you about how Stacy dislikes getting constantly accused by many of her relatives and friends of being way too skinny, or overhearing rumors about herself having an eating disorder. Here is a related article if you are not convinced:
You Think Making Money or Losing Weight Equals Happiness? Think Again


Success only Raises The Quality of Your Life

To clarify, I’m not saying that losing weight isn’t great, it is, in fact I’m currently doing my own weight loss challenge. Maintaining a healthy weight, being in a great shape, and regularly exercising will certainly raise the quality of your life allowing you to do and experience a lot more. However, I must add success will not solve all of your problems, in fact once you have lost the weight you will have a few new problems. The two Stacy problems I mentioned above I actually discovered from hanging out with a great friend of mine after she lost a lot of weight. I’m just clarifying that there are no shortcuts to happiness. Simply achieving a goal will make you happy momentarily, however after a little while you will want the next thing.

Always Wanting What You Don’t Have

Being stuck in this cycle of wanting one thing after the next is perfect for advertisers and marketers because guess what? They will always have something to sell you. By the way I’m really interested in advertising and marketing and think it’s great and necessary for selling a product, especially really good valuable products. For example many of the self help and personal development products that helped me grow the most had very good advertising and marketing behind them which is why I was attracted to buying them in the first place. However as a consumer I try to stay conscious of this process of always wanting what I don’t have, because it allows me to have more realistic expectations when purchasing a product. So next time a product appeals to you as a magic pill or a secret formula, pause and remember past products you have purchased because of this same appeal and how they turned out. This will help you save a lot of the time wasted in going after shortcuts and the secret forumlas. So what will you do with this free time? Consistent Hard Work.

What about the Secret Formulas that do Work?

All the so-called secrets of success will not work unless you do. – Author Unknown

Maybe you are still debating the value of hard work and can even think of a few secret formulas or magic pills that really do work. A great example is the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet is where you avoid any foods with carbohydrates and sugars. If you have tried this diet yourself you will see that it does work and you will lose weight very quickly, however you will discover that it’s very hard work after the first few days. You will constantly crave bread and pasta, and generally have a hard time finding Atkins friendly foods in social events. Even if you lose all of your excess weight on the Atkins diet, it’s very hard (if not impossible) to maintain the weight off as you are gradually reintroducing carbs to your diet. So I guess what I’m trying to convey is that even shortcuts or magic pills that do deliver what’s promised usually require some hard work.

Consistent Hard Work

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential – Liane Cordes

While consistent hard work might not sound very appealing, it is a great way to achieve fulfilling success. Hard work is always guaranteed to pay off, even if you don’t achieve your goal, consistently putting in the day to day work will help you grow a more disciplined self controlled character ready to tackle on your next big goal. Hard work is consistently doing the day to day tasks whether or not you are seeing results. Of course to be able to work hard on something you must really want it. When you make working hard one of your values you are no longer detracted by all of those things you were contemplating or thinking that would be “nice to have”, you end up going after what you really want.

Hard Work Example

Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it. – Author Unknown

The best example of hard work is a healthy approach to losing weight and keeping the pounds off. This approach will usually require that you eat more healthy foods than fast foods or sweats, however it will still give you some wiggle room. While this approach is gradual therefore slower it’s easier and therefore the chances of you maintaining it are higher. Also it will help you build healthy eating habits that you will have for life, leaving you feeling more energized every day you wake up. This approach will usually require some form of exercise, which will help you get red of your stress anyways. As you are exercising gradually you will start burning fat, and eventually building more lean muscle mass. This lean muscle mass will not only help you look better in most of your clothing, it will also decrease your chances of coming in contact with many of the disease related to being fat or overweight. Check out my Project Weight Loss

Working Smart while Working Hard

Working hard doesn’t mean having an unbalanced life where you are constantly working 10+ hour days. While some people are very passionate about their work that they enjoy working the 10+ hours that doesn’t mean that you have to. You should be trying to work smart. One way to work smart is to eliminate unnecessary tasks that are more time intensive yet provide a little or no payoff. A quick way to find out what tasks you can eliminate is to ask yourself in the morning, If I had only 2 hours to get one days worth of work done, what projects/tasks would I skip or not worry about as much? Another way to work smart is to outsource very time intensive boring tasks. A great resource about working smart is the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris where he discuses in detail many techniques for working smart.