Why Hard Work Is Not Always Enough

If I had a pound for each time my hard work resulted in nothing but poor results and my efforts going to total waste, then I'd be rich enough to buy a home in London in cash.

I'm not kidding.

I've always been a hard worker, and I'm extremely ambitious, diligent and conscientious. I hate laziness and growing up I always believed that you can achieve what you want as long as you work very hard. I believed this because that's what I was taught.

I can't believe it's taken me the longest time to learn this, but I've come to realise that sometimes hard work is not enough, and for me, that's a bitter pill to swallow.

I'm not saying that hard work is not important, because it is. I'm simply saying that sometimes in life, working hard in life doesn't always mean that you'll get the results you deserve. You can work your arse off, yet you won't achieve the things that you really want to achieve. Some people might assume that you "just didn't work hard enough" or "didn't work hard at all" but there is only so much you can do and if you worked hard and didn't get what you wanted, it doesn't mean that you didn't work at all.

I can think of the many times I've worked hard, only to find that I've not achieved what I wanted and it's very upsetting because I put my heart and soul into a lot of things, so it feels as though my efforts have gone to waste and I might as well not have bothered. There have been many times where I've worked hard while I was growing up, at school, in previous jobs, in past friendships and in previous houseshares and flatshares I've lived in, only to have my hard work come to nothing and to have my efforts thrown back in my face, and it's so unfair. I worked hard in school but I didn't get the results I deserved. Last year I worked in a job where my hard work, efforts and abilities were undervalued and underappreciated. I've been in friendships in the past where despite my efforts, I got nothing in return and I was treated poorly, completely disrespected and made to feel as though I was a 'bad' friend. I've lived in flatshares and houseshares where despite being a good flatmate/housemate, I was portrayed badly, treated appallingly and treated as the scapegoat. Also, growing up, I was always made to feel as though I wasn't working hard enough, and as if nothing I did was ever good enough.

I look back at past situations and I think, "Why did I even bother? Why did I work hard only to not achieve what I wanted?" I can't but feel short-changed sometimes, and I end up feeling as though nothing I do will ever be good enough.

But like I said, hard work is not always enough and sometimes it will never be enough, and as a result of my experiences I've come to realise that this comes down to a couple of things: lack of respect and appreciation from others, and external factors.

Total lack of appreciation from others
Have you ever given your all to something or someone, and received absolutely nothing (or a bad response) in return? Me too. Have you ever worked hard at something but you didn't get your desired result? Me too. My issue has always been the fact that my hard work, efforts and abilities are constantly undermined by others and I'm made to feel as though I'm not good enough, I didn't work hard enough and somehow I don't deserve the respect and appreciation from others.

I've come to realise that my life is better off without people who don't appreciate my hard work. I work very hard in my professional and personal lives to make sure I'm achieving my goals and maintaining friendships, so the last thing I need is to have others dismiss my efforts.

If you have people in your life who don't appreciate your efforts, then best believe that that person doesn't have your interests at heart and they don't really have respect you. Anyone who is true to you and values, appreciates and respects you will see the best in you and they will see how hard you work. They will never put you down or tell you that you "don't work hard enough" when that's not the case. This is why I'm so happy with the friends I have in my life: they know me, they know how ambitious I am and if things don't work out, they still support me and try to up my spirits.

External and additional factors
Something that irritates the hell of out me is the notion that if you work hard enough, you can make it in life and achieve anything you want. Well, I'm sorry to say this but that's simply not the case. Now, just to clarify, I'm not saying hard work isn't important, because it is - don't be complacent! I'm saying that if you want to succeed in life, hard work is only a part of it. There are people out there who work extremely hard, but because of factors out of their control, they won't be able to achieve what they want. I look back at certain times of my life and I know that if I didn't go through adversities and if I was better supported in school, I would have done so much better. Some people are lucky and privileged, and some people have to deal with so many obstacles that hold them back in life that simply working hard will not rectify.

All in all, I still work hard but I know that there are some things that are beyond my control. I can only focus on controlling my own destiny. I'm still willing to work my socks off to achieve my goals, and I do believe that I will be able to do this because I believe in myself and I have confidence in my abilities. But I don't believe in pure hard work anymore, and I'm not willing to work hard and stick at things that aren't working out. I'm not going to waste time working hard and investing in things that aren't bringing me happiness and the desired results.

That's why I decided to go freelance instead of going back into full-time work. That's why I surround myself with friends who appreciate me, encourage me and lift up my spirits. That's why after 3+ years, I still run my blog. I do these things because they make me happy and I feel fulfilled and satisfied. Most importantly, I do these things because I know that when I work hard, my efforts count for something rather than for absolutely nothing.



  1. Yes, you can reach the top of the ladder only to find you were leaning against the wrong wall the whole time. It depends on what we mean by 'working hard'. If it's single-mindedly going in one direction no matter what, then that might not be the best approach. However, working hard isn't just the number of hours you put in. It's overcoming other challenges, such as being willing to change, which is hard. It's staying open-minded in the face of defeat. It's letting go of old beliefs. All of this can involve hard work too. Self-growth in general is the biggest challenge - and the most rewarding journey.

    1. You're right and I 100% agree with your comment.

      I guess it depends on the situation. When I look back at the things I worked hard at the did not work out, I realise that I was simply going in the wrong direction and things were never going to work out anyway. Some things are just not meant to be but I guess that's life.

      I'm getting better at investing my time, hard work, energy and effort into my goals and the right things, but of course, there are so many challenges along the way but I guess in life I have to take the rough with the smooth.