Does Hard Work Equal Success, Or Is There Another Way? : Under30CEO Does Hard Work Equal Success, Or Is There Another Way? : Under30CEO
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Does Hard Work Equal Success, Or Is There Another Way?

| September 27, 2013 | 19 Comments

Hard Work

I used to think that hard work was the cornerstone to success. I believed that if you wanted to achieve anything in life, you simply had to work hard. Harder than anyone else.

I remember reading a quote recently that didn’t make any sense: “Hard work. Well, that’s all right for people who don’t know about anything else”.

It didn’t make sense because I didn’t know anything else.

Working hard was my default mode. Whenever I wanted to accomplish my ambitions, I just went all in. Full throttle. To be honest, it brought me reasonable success.

However, it’s nothing compared to what I experience now. Instead of working hard, things just seem to happen. Turning my dreams and ambitions into reality somehow seems to have become effortless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still putting in the hours and am not promoting laziness. If you want to be successful, you still need to work – it’s just a different kind of work. Less forced. So whilst I’m still hugely dedicated to my business and putting in the required effort, I’ve stopped fighting for things to happen. Now, things just flow and opportunities continue to pop up around me, over and over again.

So what’s happened? Did I wake up one day with super powers? Or did I just become incredibly lucky?

I believe things come on our path for a reason. One night, after I had finished my day job, I was working away on my business yet again. I was doing my social media when a message from my business mentor popped up on Facebook, recommending this book called ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch’. It’s a book about the law of attraction and how to manifest success and wealth.

The title made me laugh. I’m usually pretty down to earth, not really buying in to these kinds of things, but decided to give it a try. After all, I had nothing to lose. The book ended up captivating me. I was intrigued by the stories of people achieving things they thought to be impossible, without working their fingers to the bone.

It got me curious. I wanted that too! I believe life is an experiment, not to be won or lost, but just to be played. And so I started playing – I read more books about the law of attraction and started applying the practices in those books. One of the major things was getting rid of all my fears, doubts, worries and limiting beliefs about myself and the things I want to achieve.

Guess what? Incredible things started to happen to me too.

I used to doubt my coaching skills and question myself over and over again. Even though I’m a professionally trained life and startup coach, I wondered if I had what it takes to encourage, inspire and empower others to let their full potential out. Letting go of my limiting beliefs has allowed me to attract more clients with a newfound confidence and ease.

At the same time I started listening to my intuition more and more. I used to be a very heady person, analysing and wanting to understand everything. Now, not so much. Through running, yoga,

meditation and asking myself certain questions, I’m learning to make decisions based on what my gut is telling me, even when rationally it makes no sense at all. In fact, when I feel like doing something that I can’t explain from a rational point of view, I take it as a hunch and follow it. This has been my pivotal moment!

Deep down inside, we all have the answers. We all know perfectly well what we want, yet we must listen to our gut, intuition, the whispering voice, or whatever you want to call it.

Ever since I started navigating on my inner guidance system, things just seem to have fallen in place. People started to reach out to me with requests to collaborate, instead of having to do it the other way around constantly. Others started to support me in my mission to encourage, empower and inspire people around the world to start a business that sets their heart and soul on fire, instead of consistently having to shout out about it myself. There is no need to force things anymore, because everything just seems to work out, one way or another. I honestly feel like I have a secret fairy godmother who makes all my dreams come true.

It’s kind of weird and scary, but extremely exciting and empowering at the same time.

So here’s the million dollar question: What do you want to believe in? Do you believe my story or are you skeptical? Do you want to believe hard work is the cornerstone to creating something that matters to you? Or do believe there’s another way to success, a way that is all about getting rid of your limiting beliefs and listening to your intuition?

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Iris Louwerens, founder of Dig Mondays, is on a mission to help people start exciting, fulfilling and thriving businesses that allow them to let their full potential out and live life on their own terms. Through her one-on-one coaching, mentoring, blog and live events, she encourages, empowers and inspires others to let their inner genius out and create the career and life of their dreams.

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  • Michael Amushelelo

    This is a great piece. The only limiting factor in our life’s is our beliefs nothing else.

  • treptalks

    Working hard is definitely a good bet. The more you align yourself to what your strengths, gifts and passions are the better it will be. To me a good analogy is like a vector sum (for all the algebra enthusiasts). The most outcome is when all your vectors are aligned in the same direction.

    There really is no magic pill.

  • Virendra Giri

    One point is always clear that there is no substitute for hard work but if success comes only with hard work then i guess there is something wrong in the planning or the way we work….After sometime it should be automated, once we know all the pros and cons, all the routes and points.. But i do not know in how many cases does it happen?

  • Iris Louwerens

    Nice metaphor treptalks (I’m guessing that’s not your real name!). I’m not an algebra enthusiast, but get what you’re saying. Agree that putting in the hours is necessary, that there’s no magic pill. We can’t just sit on the sofa and expect success to show up at our door. That doesn’t mean magic doesn’t exist – dropping our limiting beliefs and tapping in to our intuition sure can feel like it!

  • Dare Oladipupio

    yes, I think Hard work is not the only way to success but we don’t have to be lazy. we are now in the information age where working smart is the order of the day, unlike the industrial age where working hard is common.

  • Chris Taylor

    Iris, I agree with what you’re getting at. I find the same things happen in my life. I see people around me completely busting their gut, and I feel like there is often a smarter way to accomplish things. However, this piece lacked some concrete examples, which would really help tie your points together. What was a time you decided to ease off of what you were working on and put your time towards something else, and why did it work out? It seems almost like a sales pitch to buy that book for the answers.

    As for the “magic pill”, I believe the only answer is to really love what you are working on, because then it doesn’t seem like work. In my opinion, most of the “work smarter, not harder” notion has to do with optimization in daily activities. Being a recent college aerospace grad, the biggest thing I learned was how to optimize my time between school, band (I was drum set captain), and friends. Being able to grow yourself in multiple ways is usually more effective than putting ALL of your time in school just to get a 4.0. What do you think?

  • James

    “Work Smarter, Not Harder”

    Embrace automation, embrace outsourcing. Don’t work for your business, let your business work for you. Oh, and If you haven’t already, read the 4 Hour Workweek. Trust me, it’s possible!

    As founders we can get caught up in the day to day running of our businesses, when really we need to take a step back and keep the big picture in mind. We are visionaries after all, it’s in the job description.

  • Kevin Diamond

    Really Enjoyed this post, Iris! The more I have found myself opening up to the world, the more it has opened up to me. When we pursue the things we love, things we love pop into our life. Sheer awesomeness!

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  • Denise Duffield-Thomas

    Hey thanks for a shout out to my book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!

  • Maxim

    Iris, interesting what kind of certian questions you started to ask yourself? Thanks!

  • Ava Cristi

    Thank you! Working hard is important, that’s true, but it is also a form of practice—which means there has to be improvements and what you worked hard for yesterday will become something that makes things easier for you in the future. There is growth and experience involved.

  • Nishan K. Silva

    Focused positive actions, based on dominant thoughts of ones goals, with strong belief of achieving.

  • Iris Louwerens

    Hi Maxim, great question :) In short, it’s these two questions:

    1) which option(s) am I trying to sell to myself?
    I’ve learned that, basically, the option that I’m trying to sell to myself the most isn’t the one I should go for, because that one is not being led by my intuition.

    2) what would I regret not doing the most?
    I answer this question by scaling the answer (on a scale of 1 – 10, how much would I regret not doing A / B / C etc), after which I figure out why I would regret not doing it. If it’s based on any kind of fear, but I would really regret not doing it I know I should just go for it.

    Hope that makes sense!

    I’ve written a blog post about this, in which I explain it in more detail. It’s here in case you’re interested:


  • Iris Louwerens

    Hi Chris, fair point about the lack of concrete examples and I get that it could have come across as a sales pitch. It wasn’t meant like that at all as there are tons of great books out there about the law of attraction, spirituality and personal development; Spirit Junkie, The Law of Divine Compensation, Energy Leadership and the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success are just a few of them (which I all devoured!).

    Anyways, as for a concrete example – here goes. I used to believe that I had to work hard, hard, hard to make things happen. As a result, I spent every waking, spare hour on my business. Without much results. I remember feeling stressed out and too tired to do fun things with my friends during the weekends. At some point I just was tired of feeling tired, so I decided I had to find another way. I started working with a coach to let my intuition guide me more and started reading all those books I summed up. So instead of spending every spare hour on my business doing ‘outer’ work, I decided to focus on ‘inner’ work instead – such as developing an inner faith that things will work out, believing that something bigger out there has got my back and getting rid of my fears and limiting beliefs. Stuff that I previously labeled as airy fairy woo woo. The results spoke for itself: I more easily converted prospects into clients, got a tax rebate (up until then I’ve always had to pay extra money at the end of the financial year) and pension payout, received an email from a company with the request to do workshops for them, people started spreading the word about Dig Mondays instead of me having to do everything myself….

    Some may say that’s luck – I think it’s too much of a coincidence for all these things to start happening all at the same time.

    As for your last point, I absolutely agree that extracurricular activities are super important when it comes to growth. Whilst education is obviously important, there are so many things they don’t teach at school. I know I’ve certainly grown most from the things I did outside of school and university!

  • Chris Taylor


    Thanks so much! This is some great information, and exactly what I was looking for! I’m having trouble figuring out what the best way and when the best time is for me to escape the corporate world and do what inspires me. It’s the delicate balance of time/purpose/enjoyment (some of which falls into money) that I feel like so few are able to find. I have plenty of time outside my job to do things I love, but I feel that it is easy to slip into this pattern. I am not accomplishing a sense of purpose in my daily life, and while this kind of 9 to 5 is okay for awhile, I will go crazy if I don’t create something for myself. This is reminding me to stay smart in my pursuits as well as put forth effort.

    Thanks for your advice! I am sure it will be helpful in solving this puzzle of mine :)

  • Abdullatif

    John Maxwell says ” Work hard on your self than on your Job “.
    It seems wright Iris.

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  • twitchymike

    hard work with less giggling gets you fired