Hard Work and Good Choices

I believe that everyone wants some degree of success. I’ve yet to meet somebody who doesn’t want to be successful at something important in their lives. I also believe that while everyone is entitled to pursue success, success itself is not an entitlement.

It is largely determined by our hard work and our choices. I have known many people who work hard but make bad choices, and most of them think they deserve to be more successful because they have worked so hard. On the other hand, I don’t know of very many successful people who have made good choices but didn’t work hard.

Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part. It truly takes both to achieve success at whatever you do.

Advice About Making Decisions

Years ago, when I was the CEO for BNI®, I knew the choices I made were important to the business. My decisions impacted hundreds of employees and franchise owners, as well as hundreds of thousands of BNI members around the world. I remember talking to a good friend and mentor about some tough decisions I had to make and my concerns about them. He said, “Not every decision you make has to be a good one. Just make sure that you make more good ones than bad ones and when you make a bad one – minimize the impact by fixing it quickly.”

Wow! That was great advice! It is advice that precisely hits the point about working hard and making good choices. Not every choice you make must be on the mark. However, enough of them do so that you can get the results you want. Some of my biggest lessons in business have come from my losses, not my successes. Generally, neither had much to do with luck but instead with the choices I made or the commitment I gave to the project. I think the harder you work, the luckier you get. And you want to work smarter, not just harder.

Plan the Work and Work the Plan

During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of people who have experienced varying degrees of success in their lives. A recurring theme I see with these people is that they plan their work and work their plan. They think through their possible choices, make the best ones they can with the information they have, and then work hard to carry out the choices they’ve made.

I remember talking to someone I’d known for years about the growth of my business and some of the personal goals I had achieved, and he said, “Man you’re lucky. It must be nice.”
I responded by saying “Yeah, I’m “lucky”. Let me tell you the secret to my “luck.” First, I went to college for ten years. During that time, I started my own business and  worked really long hours for two decades. Along the way, I mortgaged my house a couple of times for the business, and I wrote five books. You too can have this kind of “luck.” All you need to do is apply this kind of effort to whatever you do, and you can be just as lucky.” He laughed and said, “Okay, okay, I get it!” 

Success is most often earned. It is not handed over because you are entitled.
If being successful was easy, everyone would have the success they think they deserve.  Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part. It’s important to remember that it truly takes BOTH to achieve success at whatever you do.

3 thoughts on “Hard Work and Good Choices

  1. Being on top isn’t always everything. Carrer is good and success is self fulfilling. We just need to be careful, make good choices / decisions not to hurt others in order for us to grow.

  2. Namaste Mr. Ivan
    I agree with your saying that hard work, perseverance and more right decisions than wrong ones lead to success. it is the natural order of things and the right way.
    But I would like to add that in addition to the above, luck or destiny also play a role in success, maybe 20% if we are looking for numbers in terms of percentage.
    I am an Indian and belong to MANTRA chapter of Hyderabad BNI. This endeavour of setting up BNI on the principle givers gain is the core outlook of INDIANS. This was the principal the 80% of Indians followed till the recent past, where they tried help another without any expectation of gain or thankfulness. Even today on an Indian road if you ask for an address, number of people come and try to help you in reaching that address, though you are a stranger.
    Till maybe 2 decades back there where not many consultancies, constancy is nothing but selling knowledge through word of mouth. Nearly everyone used to passion knowledge of job availability, real estate availability, which college is good to study in, any matrimonial match for your children, etc., etc., etc.,.. I am very happy to hear the same principle as the foundation of BNI where we help others without any gain for ourselves. I am happy to join such a family.
    We have philosophical book/way of life book. help others without thinking of any gain for yourself, you also might have heard about it, its Geeta where he says work hard but do not expect any outcome, in the business parlance maybe we have to take this sentence with a pinch of salt, but I tend to be less stressed when I remember this sentence and am able to agree that my success or failure is not entirely upto me but some supreme power is willing to share the blame or victory.
    Thank you

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