Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee you a good life

Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee you a good life

The other day Mr Hakainde Hichilema was urging Zambians to work hard if they want to live well and be comfortable.

Listening to him I was wondering what my relatives in Eastern Province, who work seven days a week with no rest, would make of his words. The more they work the poorer they become.

They work hard every day growing cotton, tobacco, soybeans, groundnuts and maize, but their lives are not improving. The transnational corporations that deal in cotton and tobacco – and others – are the ones becoming richer and richer from their sweat and hard work.

The lives of these relatives of mine will never improve, no matter how hard they work, unless we deal with the way they are being robbed – and only a socialist revolution can truly end this exploitation.

We have politicians in the ruling party becoming richer and richer without much hard work – all from corruption, crooked fertiliser, oil, and other deals and contracts.

Clearly, when it comes to living a successful life, one of the most common thoughts that most people have is that they need to be extremely hard working. But the truth is that hard work alone is not enough.

There is no point working hard on something that gives you only small rewards. You can spend your entire life working hard on something but have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

Now, the reason I’m writing this is NOT to tell you not to work hard, but rather, to share with you why hard work alone is insufficient if you want to be successful.

And more importantly, if you are working hard right now but not seeing much by way of results, and have been doing this for some time, you should perhaps spend some time thinking about your work.

Is the effort you have poured into it giving you the best results?


While I’m not denying that hard work is important, it is only important when you are working hard at the right thing.

For instance, if you have been jogging and running for years, does that mean you are a good marathon runner and are able to compete at an Olympic level? No. But why is that?

You can work hard and run a marathon three times a week for the next ten years, but that does not make you an Olympian. Why?

The reason is that hard work alone is not enough. You need to follow a blueprint or the right strategy to get you where you want to go. If you keep running to the west, there is no way you can catch up with the sunrise, no matter how fast or how hard you run.

We were conditioned to work hard at whatever job we get and to believe that things will work out. This is false. Working hard at the wrong thing will not produce much for you.

In fact, working hard itself alone will exhaust you and shorten your life. Ronald Reagan has a famous quote: “It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but, I figure, why take the chance?”

Look at the picture above this article: a guy pushing a big boulder. As you can see, no matter how hard he tries, there is no way the guy can move the boulder unless he has a lever.

If you want to earn a million dollars a year, merely working and earning $5,000 a month will not make you reach your target. You need to do something else. You need something extra.

By saying that you need to do something extra, I’m not referring to working harder or spending more time doing it. Even if you are hard working and you work an additional five hours a day, and your boss doubles your salary to $10,000 a month, there is still no way you can reach the million-dollar mark.

Unless you leverage a system, you can never hit that goal, no matter how hard you work. This is why you need to learn how to leverage other financial vehicles, such as real estate, compound interest, business, and so on.


The problem with working hard is that most people define “hard work” in the wrong way. They think that working long hours equals hard work which, I believe, is only partially true.

If you are working hard in the construction industry under the hot sun, then yes, you are working hard. However, if your work is all about sitting in a comfortable chair and typing and reading website after website, that is not really hard work in the same way, right?

You see, it all depends on how you define it. To me, there are two parts to the definition of hard work.

The first is what most of us already know, which is to work hard on a goal, diligently. But the second part is one that most people miss out on. It involves improving your strategy to make sure you are getting the right results.

In “hard work”, the first word “hard” is what we commonly know as working longer hours and putting in more effort. The second word, “work”, is all about something that WORKS. Yes, you need to be hard working, and work on something that works.

If you are at work right now, take a few minutes to think about the investment of time and energy you are making. Is your energy and effort well spent? Are you doing something that will pay off handsomely or will all your efforts go down the drain?

Things will become clearer if you think about working in a fixed-salary job. You will never see much economic benefit from pouring your energy into that job. Yes, you can be promoted and receive a pay raise, but you are sacrificing your life (time) with money.

Your boss may be grateful for all the hard work you have poured in, but it is impossible for him or her to give you a pay raise every month just because you work more.

Fred M’membe

Article by Socialist Party Zambia
The Socialist Party is a political formation whose primary mandate is to promote and entrench socialist values in the Zambian society. Anchored on the principles of Justice, Equity and Peace (JEP), the Socialist Party shall transform the Zambian society from capitalism to socialism, building socialism in three key sectors: Education, Agriculture and Health.

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