Want Success? Work Harder.

People always want to know how other people achieved their success. Most of the time, they want to know so they can emulate it, so they can do what works. They’re hoping for shortcuts, secrets, tricks, magic bullets, and shiny objects. The answer they get is usually something a lot less sexy, and something that sends them searching for another answer.

The two factors that drive success for most people and cause others to ask how they did it are often simple, plain old ordinary, run of the mill hard work and a single-minded purpose.

Successful people are awake and working when less successful people are fast asleep (this is both true in the morning and the evening). They know what they want and they’re up doing the work.

Successful people are also working when less successful people are watching television and surfing the Internet. They trade time spent pursuing leisure for investments in reaching their goals, whatever those goals may be.

While the less successful bounce from one thing to the next, the successful diligently grind away on the one thing they are doing until they get it across the line. They don’t dabble in work; they go all in.

It’s fashionable to talk about work-life balance. It’s out of fashion to suggest that you should spend more time working. It’s been a long time since it’s been in fashion to suggest that one simply work harder, and it may never again be fashionable. But for most people, greater success would as surely follow working harder as day follows night.

Sometimes you just need to work harder.

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  • AmyMccTobin

    I think the work/life balance is a myth. If you have a job you love, you don’t worry about balancing anything.

    • Brian Driggs

      Balance requires opposing forces constantly at odds with one another. Work-life balance is a scam for HR and escapism for the lazy.

      Work-life parallel, on the other hand, that’s where it’s at. The work itself should be relevant and meaningful. Anything less is just golden handcuffs.

    • Purvesh Khona


    • Henri van der Merwe

      I disagree. It depends on what you call ‘success’. The definition of success in our ultra-materialistic world sadly means money.

      Ask the average child whether they would have liked that extra computer game or a few hours spent with their Dad/Mom during their formative years, and the answer will most likely be ‘time with Dad/Mom!’

      I worked days and nights on work I was passionate about when my kids were little, only to be almost retrenched due to a major company restructure and strategic change in IT systems (that I had no control over). All that time investment essentially down the tubes (other than the experience I gained). I will never again do that for a salaried job…

      I regret working all those weekends and evenings, because that precious time with my children is gone for ever, whilst I could quite readily whip myself into longer working hours as my kids grow independent.

      Work/Life balance is about choosing what your priorities are in life (ie what does it mean to you to be ‘successful) and allocating your time accordingly: if it is to work your backside off and make a fortune, then that is what you need to allocate your commitment and time to.

      For me: success is that I want to pay my bills comfortably, to know that I was a present father to my children when they needed me, and to enjoy my sport and outdoor life while I have the youth to do it. I try to allocate my time accordingly…

      • S. Anthony Iannarino

        I feel you, Henri. If you want success as a parent, you have to work harder at creating that success, too.

  • Jonnalyn Pascual

    Working harder is the best way to be successful in everything we do. Hardwork and focus must be a combination of your work habits.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I’m with you, Jonnalyn! It’s a practice.

  • Yusuf

    What would you say when a person works too hard and try to learn as much as possible but at the end of the day, things are not in hi/her favour.

    • AmyMccTobin

      How can you work TOO hard to try to learn? Not possible. I say the answer, at the end of the day, is to keep working. Work through the bad stuff.

  • Maegan Anderson

    It is given knowledge that you work harder to increase you capacity to answer, provide insights and reports which is necessary to the path of success.

  • Joe McGonigal

    I can’t argue that hard work is a key factor in being successful, but that alone is not enough, in fact, might not even be the most important thing. You have to be working on the right things. You have to know what levers to pull, how to identify high leverage activities. When you combine working hard with working on the right things….now you have something.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Joe. I think most people know what the right things are; they just resist doing them.

  • Gloria Betcher

    I was an X-ray tech. for 44 yrs. who was fired for not being good enough. I was at the top of my class in a school rated in the top 10. I did all the right things–even worked 80 hrs. a week for 8 weeks, but the supervisor did’nt like me.
    I wanted to start my own business but was shot down by my mother. I believe hard work, prayer, a true love of your work, and a good personality are the answers to success—-follow YOUR dream, not someone else’s.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      And work hard at it, too!