Hard work: Antidote to mediocrity

Hard work “If you work hard, you can achieve anything”. That’s an advice that you have received so many times, from so many people that it’s sort of lost its meaning. Be it a UPSC exam or any other area of life, you always hear this. So does that mean that we should stop listening to this advice altogether? I would argue that in all seriousness you should not. While most of us already believe that we are hard workers there might actually be a lot more to hard work. Survival is not hard work. Hard work is what you do on top of all that that is expected out of you. Hard work is above and beyond your daily chores and it is the only thing which pushes you above and beyond the ordinary. There are innumerable ways you can find pleasure in this world but nothing compares to the peace and fulfilment that comes at the end of a long and arduous hard work. Within the effort in your hard work lies the seed of satisfaction. What makes hard work really hard isn’t the work itself but the brutal self-evaluation and personal sacrifices that we do in spite of the ever-lurking uncertainty. For your hard work to bear any fruit it must have the following key ingredients:

  • Motivation: This is the engine which pushes you forward, your inspiration and your entire reason for doing what you are doing.
  • A plan: The plan is the heart of your work. It is the map of your course of action and helps you track your progress.
  • Perseverance: When your work stops being fun and starts being tedious and sometimes discouraging, that is the part which helps differentiate the winners from the losers.
  • Personal Sacrifice: This is the crux of the hard work that you do. This is what makes the hard work truly hard.
  • Milestones: In order for the hard work to be worthwhile you are required to set milestones and recognize when you achieve them. This will keep you going.

When considering hard work we need to question ourselves “WHY?” Why bother doing what you are doing? And if you don’t have the valid answer for that you might as well give up now. It is very important to have a clear idea and a definite plan before you start with all the hard work. A truly successful man keeps trying and keeps struggling until he perfects his art. Thomas Edison failed approximately 10,000 times while he was working on the light bulb and yet he never gave up. In an interview, he said- “I have discovered 10,000 ways of how not to do it”. That is the kind of spirit we all need to possess. There is beauty in working hard towards achieving a dream. It gives direction and meaning to life.

Irrespective of the results, hard work always makes a person a little better, a little wiser. An individual becomes richer and fuller in the process of struggling. True success is deserved only by those who consciously choose to work hard and are not just put in a situation. Irrespective of what situation life puts you in, success lies in choosing to struggle a little harder than others. There is no escaping hard work as there are no shortcuts to success. Everything that has ever been accomplished has been a process of chiselling oneself one hammer blow at a time. If you are not struggling enough and are not in enough pain, then you are probably on the boring track of mediocrity. Pain is an indicator of how hard are you working at achieving your goals. The joy that comes from the depth of our hearts and the end of a painful struggle is the ultimate joy of all.  It is the nectar of life. Only with the painful expression of hard work can its true beauty be revealed. So, work hard without excuses or limits. Just lose yourself in the grind to discover a new self and success. True and well-deserving success, at not just an exam but over yourself.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; It takes sweat, determination and hard work.”- Colin Powell

All the best!

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