The 99%

Growing up, my Dad was big on hard work. On the weekends we worked on projects around the house. As I grew older, I farmed with my uncle, built a house with my Dad, and once I was old enough to get a job, I did.

My father wasn’t a taskmaster, but he understood the importance of hard work and it is one of the most important lessons that he taught me. Looking back I am so thankful that he taught me to work hard and to value the importance of sweat equity.

However, my father also taught me another lesson that is equally important:

Hard work will not bring you success, you have to work hard at “smart work.” He always used to tell me, “Michael, always remember that you can make more money with your mind than with your muscles.”

Life takes hard work, if you want to succeed you have to grind, you have to push, and if you don’t, you won’t get where you want to.

But just grinding is not going to cut it, you have to be smart about how you grind, you have to think through what you’re doing. You can be balls to the wall at work but never get anywhere because you aren’t working smart.

Doing intensive marketing for a product without understanding the target audience, learning skills that will be obsolete soon, or organizing paper records that are getting thrown away soon. All of this is hard work, but it’s not smart.

Life is hard, and you have to outsmart it to win. Work alone won’t get you anywhere.

Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Ideas come easily, and everyone has them, but no one wants to grind. No one really wants to do smart work.

Smart work requires failure and learning from mistakes. Smart work requires you to be like Edison, to not be phased by failure, to look at failure as success, to pick yourself up and grow from your past.

Without growth, there can be no forward movement. You can’t move up in the world unless you’re growing up.

So work hard and work smart.