Why Hard Work Alone Is Never Enough

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

You’re trying to accomplish your goal.

You’re committed to succeeding.

You’re working tirelessly, day and night, 24/7

You’re pouring your heart, time, and energy out.

But despite your best efforts, you always seem to fall short — and you’re not sure why. You begin to question what you’ve done wrong, isn’t hard work enough?

Hard Work Is Not Enough

Sure, if you aim to barely survive, then hard work will get you there. But if you are striving for excellence, if you wish to escape mediocrity, hard work alone just doesn’t cut it.

Hard Work is Really Hard Work

Growing up, I’ve been perceived as that kid in school who does nothing else at home but study. Nothing could be more false.

Sure I have the grades to show for it, but what people don’t know is that I barely touch my books when I’m at home.

Is it neglect? Maybe.

But I believe hard work will never be enough. Sure, you could stay up late at night reading and re-reading your notes. Sure, you could slave away typing your report for 48 hours straight. Sure, you could skip meals, sleep, and social interactions to finish your project. (And trust me, I have heard worst stories)

But do you truly get the outcome you want?

Or if you do, is it really worth all the stress?

My lack of superficial studying at home, I compensate for working the smarter, more efficient way. Note how I mentioned “superficial”, because many times our last minute surge to do something is just for show. In reality, it won’t accomplish much.

Hard work isn’t enough

Yup, you’ve heard it right, hard work may never be enough. Alone, hard work is just like a sturdy bow with no arrows to shoot or targets to aim. It is incomplete and is ineffective alone.

So let’s dive into the missing components…

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1.) Work Hard and Smart

Have you seen people who seem to have a whole bunch of time to accomplish a whole bunch of things?

Do you envy how they miraculously churn out constant results?

Do you wish to get things done just as fast as them?

Truth is, those people are just smart workers. They’ve spent time perfecting how to get things done faster and easier. They’ve went out of their way to research how to get things done the most efficient way. And then they do the impossible!

Are you willing to do the same? Are you willing to go out of your way and stay committed?

The thing is, it does require a whole bunch of brain work. Many solutions that we need aren’t found online, and so we need to come up with one ourselves. This may deter people, but at the end of the day, brute force (even with dumb luck), cannot beat smart thinking.

Learn to identify opportunities wherein you can work the smarter way, and do so! If there is an easier (yet perfectly legal and morally sound 🙂 ) way to get things done, then look for it and then do it!hard work

2.) Work Hard and With Others

Anybody who is not willing to work with others, is someone who is not willing to reach their goals. Period.

Often times, we let our ego (what ego? I’m too good for that) pull the reign. We decide we can handle it, and then fail miserably right after.

Nobody, as in NOBODY, can succeed alone. You need the help of people around you. Whether that be your friends, family, or even some stranger you’ve met online (caution folks, don’t talk to strangers 😉 ).

All great people have had other great people to help them. Heck, even Albert Einstein had his supportive mom with him. Long story short, in a group, you can all collectively achieve what none of you can alone.

So go ahead! Start working hard with someone. (If you’re into writing and helping people out, I really need someone to help me write articles too 😉 )

3.) Work Hard and With A Plan

Not having a plan is a killer—a big, fat time killer!

Direction is everything. By focusing all your effort into a specific task, you get more done. Don’t end up being all over the place, your hard work will be in vain. You have to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!

Creating a plan is (sadly) one thing most people disregard. And yes, initially it does take more time to make, but the time you’ll save later on is worth every second making it.

Many people walk blindly. They believe the time spent on planning could have been time spent in action (or worse, don’t even take action too). But action without direction, is just useless. It wastes time, energy, and the chance of having accomplished something.

Don’t walk blindly. You HAVE to have a plan!

In doing so, you’ll be able to direct all your energy into the right path. And in case you get lost or unmotivated, you have something to look back to.

4.) Work Hard and Stay Happy

Sure, you can be the biggest, baddest robot out there! You could churn out the most results and do so with such accuracy and consistency. Heck, you could already be so successful that people shower you with praises and every newborn instantly knows your name.

But if you’re not happy, none of it counts!

Hard work will exhaust you, it will suck up your life force leaving you pale and crippled. There is absolutely no use to push through if you are unhappy. And so make sure you are happy.

You were not made to just live, you were made for more. Find the path you love—find your purpose— and pursue it!

At the end of it all, money, power, and fame, can never replace the true joy and happiness that is found in living the purposeful life God has in store for us.

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Hard Work Is Powerful

I know I may sound like I’m against hard work, but trust me, I’m not…

Hard work is incredible, it can achieve what you want it to achieve. But the thing is, we cannot rely on it alone. We cannot leave our tasks half baked and just rely on hard work to get the job done. We need to partner our efforts with wits, organization, and the proper mindset in order to achieve more.

It’s Your Turn!

What are some encounters you’ve had when hard work just doesn’t cut it? Do you have any other points you want to add? Leave your thoughts below in the comments and let’s talk!

About the author

Aaron James Arq

My name’s James and I’m the founder of Made For Excellence, a blog dedicated to helping teens and students live the extraordinary life they deserve! We are currently looking for more guest writers to feature; we'd love to hear what you have to say!


  • Hey James,

    Well done!

    All of these points resonated with me. Especially the point about working with others. I used to think I could make it as a “lone wolf,” and it held me back. As soon as I worked with others, amazing things started to happen.

    You are a talented young writer.

    Off to share this!

    • Hello Ayodeji!

      I’m glad the post stuck to you.

      It’s true, often times we think we can do things better ourselves, and so we miss out on all the ‘awesomeness’ we could have achieved by working with others. I’m glad you’ve decided to start working with others; definitely more amazing things to come out from it! 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words.

  • Hi James!

    Your point about staying happy hit me really good. Many people work, and work, and work, yet are miserable. There is no point in working hard if you end up rottening your life.

    Off to share this, let’s get this post viral. 😉

    Always supporting you,


    • Great to see you here again, Josefine!

      Yup! When what you’re doing is not making you happy, you’re like drinking poison in the hopes of curing yourself. It just doesn’t end up nicely! Reassess and prioritize what matters most! 🙂

      Thanks for your unwavering support!

      (yup, let’s make this go viral! 😀 )

  • Jamess,
    tbvh whenever i read your articles (well I’ve been lurking on this page and have been reading all my bff’s articles lol) I tend to read these in your voice and tone in my mind lol. Wel lall I waned to say was, Best of luck mate, Make me proud (Here’s a balloon for you )
    Forever here,