Why ‘Working Hard’ Doesn’t Usually Work

Imagine two people with the same destination in mind. One is walking and one is running. Let’s also assume that the runner is a very good runner. They are able to sustain their pace over the long-term. Who is working harder, and who is almost certainly going to reach their destination first?

The runner, right?


What I failed to tell you is that the runner is on a treadmill, but the walker isn’t. It’s an important detail, isn’t it?

And it proves an important point: hard work alone does not guarantee success. You have to be doing the right things. That’s what we’re talking about today on the blog.

The Right Stuff

We’ve all questioned whether we are headed down the right path at some point in our lives. Should I continue in relationship with this person? Should I take this new job? Is this venture worth the risk?

These are important questions and there is one way we can know the answers to all of them…


If your goal is happiness, but something doesn’t make you happy, then it is (at best) a waste of time and energy. If it makes you unhappy, it is counterproductive.

If your goal is a loving, committed relationship, then you should see those results beginning to emerge within your existing relationship. If you are not, then it is time to make a change.

And that change doesn’t mean putting an end to the relationship (necessarily), it just means trying new things. When it comes to building the life of your dreams, you have to be exceedingly shrewd. If something isn’t working, it is imperative that you investigate whatever it is and look for a solution as soon as possible.

Sooner is always better than later when it comes to course-correcting action.

The longer you wait, the further off-course you’re going to end up. It will take you much longer, and require more energy, to get back on the right track.

Exercise: What are you doing right now that doesn’t seem to be working? Here’s one way to gauge the effectiveness of your activity:

Rate your results on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 meaning ‘no improvement toward your goal’ and 10 meaning ‘incredible improvement!’ Then, multiply this number by the number of months you’ve been working toward your goal.

A result of 50 or better indicates that what you’re doing is working very well. 25-49 is satisfactory, 10-24 is in need of improvement or additional time, and 0-9 is either a complete waste of your time or else in need of additional time.

The Time for Hard Work

A woodsman was once asked, “What would you do if you had just five minutes to chop down a tree?” He answered, “I would spend the first two and a half minutes sharpening my axe.”


Hard work on a treadmill is valuable, if you desire to burn calories. If you wish to get anywhere, you’d better hop off! So it is with our work.

Time is nearly always best spent in preparation, ensuring you are well-equipped and suited for the task at hand before diving in headlong.

Many things are hard work, but are they beneficial or fruitful?

Will you achieve the things you desire by them? If you are merely looking for hard work for hard work’s sake, then start digging ditches by hand. It is very hard work, but there is little else, in terms of reward, to be gained by it.

Hard work is both noble and necessary in most, but not all, cases.

So, make sure you’re working hard at the right things each day. Then, your hard work is really going to pay off!

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