PFA 029: #6 in the most common rules to be awesome is to work hard and work smart

The Prepare for Awesome Podcast

Where I want to educate, inspire, motivate and empower you to strive higher, push further, give more, do more, be more as you become all you possibly can be.

PFA 029 Show Notes

On today’s show, we will be talking about the 6th rule in the most common rules to be awesome every day and that is to work hard and smart.

#PrepareForAwesome #WorkHard #WorkSmart

So over the past few weeks, I have covered 5 of these rules and I have had some great feed back from listeners, so please send me your comments on email.  My email address is  It is always encouraging to hear from our listeners, so please do email me.

So the 5 rules we have spoken about so far are:

Firstly mindset.  There we chatted about changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.  That was back in episode 19.  The second of these rules we spoke about was that you should set the standard you will live by.  It is not other peoples right or responsibility to set your standards.  If you want to be the best you possibly can be, you must set your own standards.

In episode 23, we chatted about ignoring the little men and women who try to hold you back from becoming all you can become and in the next session we spoke about rule number 4 and that is respecting the efforts of other people.

And then in episodes 26 and 27 we spoke about failure.  What is its and how you can overcome it.

So today I want to chat with you about the next of these rules and as I said earlier, that is working both hard and smart.

Now you may have heard the phrase, ‘Don’t work hard.  Work smart’ or ‘Work smart, not hard’ or some other variation on that theme, but let me give you what I believe to be better quotes or phrases and I will explain shortly.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

“It’s hard work that makes the difference.  I don’t care how smart you are or how smart you think you are.  Smart simply means you’re ready to learn.” Professor Freeman Hrabowski.

You may also have heard it said, “Good things come to those who wait.”  Well, there certainly is no more dumb thing that was ever said by anyone.  What that quote should say is, “Good things come to those who work their backsides off and never, ever give up on their dreams.”

Here’s a thing.  You can be incredibility intelligent, brilliantly smart, have all the answers, know all the short cuts, but if you never apply that to hard work, nothing will come of your smarts, your intelligence, your brilliance.

Former American President Calvin Coolidge said this, ” Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not: there’s nothing more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

You see, if you want to be successful in life, you have to be willing to do what other people are unwilling to do.  You have to be willing to get stuck in, even when it is inconvenient, uncomfortable, hard and gnarly.  It takes hard work to be persistent.  It takes hard work to push through the inconvenient and uncomfortable times.  

Many years ago, I met a highly educated and incredibly gifted architect who was a friend of my father.  Joel had so much talent and skill.  He could walk onto a vacant field and within minutes be telling you exactly what to build, how to build it and what it would look like when he had finished the drawings.  He was, at the time, well recognised as one of not the best architects around.  

Whether it was commercial or residential, he could create it in his mind faster and more detailed than anyone of his contemporaries.  And this was in the era before computer-aided design.  In fact, the only computers around at the time were owned by the government.

He was brilliant as an architect.  His problem though was his inability to work hard to achieve anything and when he passed away a few years after I met him, he was a bankrupt derelict and owed millions in bank loans, credit cards and personal loans from friends.  He could not get a job he was lazy.  It did not matter what the incentive was, getting him to actually work, was near on impossible.

There is also another side to the work smart idea and that is the belief that you have to get other people to do the hard work and you do the ‘smart’ work and in that way you succeed.  

I read an article recently where the author was comparing ‘smart’ working with ‘hard’ working and his launching statement was, ‘Smart workers work with their brain.  Hard workers work with their hands.’  Well, not only is he wrong, he is also insulting.

Just because someone works with their hands, does not mean they only work hard and vise-versa.

So what then does it mean to work hard and to work smart?

Firstly, hard work is not about whether you do manual and physical work or you doing creative work.  It’s not about the number of hours you put in every day or whether you start while everyone else is sleeping.  Hard work is rather about what you accomplish in the hours you do work. 

Smart work is about making sure that the hard work you do in the time you are working is the right work which will get you to the dreams and goals you have.  It is about using the most appropriate tools available to get the job done in the shortest time possible and getting it done with excellence.

You see, there is no value to be gained in working hard if you are working on the wrong thing and equally there is very little forward movement toward your goals if you are working ‘smart’ but in the wrong direction or on those things that are of little value.  

Working hard and working smart does not begin with planning or goals.  It begins with a decision.  A decision to do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality.  A decision which clearly identifies where it is you want your life to go and a decision to design the route to get you there.  And then the decision to work hard to make it.

And once you have decided, then the work can begin.

So make the decision today and begin the journey which will take you and those who want to go with you down the road to your success.

So that it for this episode.  Thanks for listening.  I look forward to chatting with you again in the next episode.
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Thanks again for your time today and I look forward to chatting with you on the next episode where I will again share with you ideas, tips and tools to help you become the best version of yourself you could possibly be.
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