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Hard Work Pays Off… Seriously!

Everyone says that hard work pays off, but it can feel hard to believe this when you have been putting in all the hard work… yet seen no payoff in return.

Whether you are trying to save up money to buy a car, working long hours in the hope of earning a raise, considering furthering your education as a way of achieving a higher income, or putting in effort to better your financial situation in any other way, the fruits of your labor will eventually be yours to enjoy.

Although it is certainly frustrating to put forth all your best effort without clear gratification, do not throw in the towel just yet — your work is sure to pay off in due time. You reap what you sow, patience is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait, as conventional wisdom has it. Yes, it does pay off for those who wait.

Of course, this conventional wisdom is unlikely to comfort those who are already skeptical about whether their hard work will pay off or not. There are many reasons to believe that committing to working hard will benefit you. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons and explore key ideas for staying motivated and ensuring that your hard work pays off.

They Say that Hard Work Pays Off, But What Does that Even Mean?

Most successful people did not magically achieve their goals overnight, nor did they have the luxury of not lifting a finger to attain their success. Successful people commit to working hard. They set quantifiable goals, put forth effort toward those goals consistently, and are unfaltering in their dedication.

Unless you are extremely lucky or wealthy from the get-go, getting to where you want to be in life will require a lot of time, energy, and planning, as well as a good attitude. Patience is particularly essential, since becoming successful is a long game.   

How should you approach your goals in order to ensure that your hard work will pay off? Before you can get to work, there are a few things you should take into consideration. First, you should have a firm sense of what you have to gain from working hard.

Why Should You Work Hard?

Put most simply, you need to put in hard work to achieve your goals. Of course, this means that you have to have goals to begin with — setting goals is an essential first step to any plan for success.

Effective goal setting should adhere to the SMART method. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Goals should be specific so that you can be sure your goals are attainable. Be sure to know the who, what, where, when, and why behind your goals.

It is important that your goals are measurable so that you are able to check-in with yourself, determine how much progress you have made toward your goals, and plan accordingly.

The importance of setting attainable goals is pretty much self-explanatory: there is no sense in wasting your energy working hard toward a goal that is too lofty to reach.

This is also why goals should be realistic; you should know what you are capable of with whatever resources are available to you, and design goals accordingly.

Time-bound goals create a sense of urgency and motivate you to put in the consistent hard work your goal requires. Creating deadlines for yourself will help you get into the right mindset and stay determined to reach your goal, even if the deadlines themselves are otherwise arbitrary.

Committing to Hard Work

Once you have a clear idea of what your SMART goals are, you will need to embrace the grind and put in the necessary time. Whether your goals are professional, academic, or purely financial, there are a few key ideas you should keep in mind when approaching your hard work.

First, learn from your mistakes. Working hard does not guarantee that you will not face setbacks and obstacles along your way. It is very likely that you will make mistakes, but when you do, do not get discouraged — your mistakes are a learning experience.

When you find that you have made a mistake, fallen short of a minor goal, or otherwise erred, you have to take it on the chin. What matters is not the mistake you made, but rather how you come back from it and what you learn from it. Reflect, recuperate, revamp, and come back stronger. Remember: achieving your goals will take time, so one little setback will not be the end of you.

This brings us to another key concept: thinking long-term rather than short-term. If your goals are big picture, it will not help you to be myopic. To achieve your goals, you will have to put in a lot of hard work over a long period of time. Stepping back and developing a holistic understanding of what it will take to succeed is key to consistently moving toward your goals.

Another key concept underlying all success stories is consistency — they don’t call it the “daily grind” for nothing! Developing productive habits, sticking to your plan, and remaining cognizant of your SMART goals are crucial elements of working hard and ensuring that your efforts are not futile.

Now, let us recapitulate key takeaways we have covered thus far: set SMART goals, learn from your mistakes, think long-term, and be consistent.

The Payoff for Hard Work

Now, we can return to the initial question: what does it mean for hard work to pay off?

If you work hard to further your education and earn a degree or certificate, the money and time you spend in class, studying, and completing assignments will pay off in many ways. On average, college graduates have 57% more employment opportunities available to them than those who did not hold degrees.

What’s more is that you will have access to not only more jobs, but jobs that pay better. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a direct, positive correlation between education level and average income, meaning that college graduates across all fields bring in more than those who have only a high school diploma or less.

Your hard work at school will make you more marketable to future employers, increase your earning potential, and give you an edge over non-degree holding job candidates.

Even if you are not seeking a degree, committing to hard work is a wise investment for your future professional aspirations. Knowing that you have put significant time and energy into your career will imbue you with a sense of confidence in your work ethic and in your capabilities more broadly. Others will respect you for the hard work you put in as well.

If college talk is not your cup of tea, have you thought about starting a business? Perhaps an online business? Maybe just a side hustle to start. Working for yourself, and on your own, is a scary thing. What can make it easier? Knowing that you put in the hard work.

What can show you that it pays off? A successful business! Hard work is the key to getting a business of the ground. Don’t underestimate the feeling you’ll have knowing that you put in the time and work to help it grow.

Hard work is the foundation of success. You can live without regrets knowing that you have put forth your best effort to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. Aligning your efforts with your aspirations will provide you with a sense of meaning in your life, and you will sleep soundly at night.

Developing good habits, setting SMART goals, and sticking to your plan for success will give you the momentum you need to stay motivated, grow as a person, and continue to forge your path toward greatness.

The feeling of working hard will get you the payoff you deserve… and perhaps some serious results. No matter what goal, hard work pays off.

By: Robert Puharich | March 15, 2022 |