Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users. I’m one of them, and my answers have been viewed nearly 300,000 times, as of this writing. On March 12th, 2018, I answered the question, “Does Hard Work Guarantee Success?, and here is my answer:
I’m going to start with something that SOUNDS very negative, and then somehow turn it around at the end to show you that success is possible for you no matter where you are now.
TL;DR: Any sort of meaningful success (and the EARNED pride that comes with it) is inevitably, intimately, irreducibly tied to hard work.
I should state outright that one of the only guarantees in life is not success, but rather, SUFFERING!
Yes: unavoidable, back-breaking, heartbreaking, will-crushing suffering and hardship. That’s what life is ABOUT.
It’s something that we’re all going to have to deal with to varying degrees throughout the course of our lives, but it doesn’t have to preclude success.
In fact, suffering, approached correctly, often LEADS to success.
Let me explain.
If you want something badly enough, you can do it.
This point bears repeating: If you want something bad enough, you can do it.
But you’re going to have to suffer for it. I’ve had enough of all this garbage about 20-minute abs, and the “4-Hour Workweek” (It’s an excellent book though).
Success doesn’t just fall from the sky. You’re going to have to put in the work, and you’re going to have to do that without any guarantee of success.
At least, not in the way that success is ordinarily defined.
To me, however, success is simply the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Put simply: if you have an ultimate goal, a “definite chief aim” that you have decided to pursue with all your being, and you’re actually PURSUING it, day by day, then you’re ALREADY successful.
If you’re working hard at something that’s clearly important to you, then you’re already successful. That’s it. End of story.
But most people don’t see that. They see success as somewhere “off in the distance”, in a place they may or may not ever reach. Can’t you see that you’ve thereby defined yourself as being “unsuccessful”?
If you are “here”, and success is “there”, then you will never achieve success.
No; success lies in the valiant effort to face your individual suffering unafraid and to do your ABSOLUTE BEST to bring your goals to reality. The end result of your hard work is irrelevant.
Strictly speaking, anything can happen regardless of whether or not you work hard. Lazy, incompetent people get promoted all the time. But I gather that your question involves EARNED success, and for that there is no definitive answer.
Instead, you just have to focus on what you can control completely, and what you have PARTIAL control over, leaving everything else up to “fate”, as it were.
But I can unequivocally state that when you are passionately involved in the pursuit of your ultimate ideal, whatever that means to you, then you’re already successful.
When you do your best, and when you give it all that you have, then nothing that comes your way can ever make you a loser.
All the best,
AUTHOR BIO: Matt Karamazov is a nightclub bouncer in Halifax, Canada. But he’s really very nice once you get to know him! He writes mostly for High Existence, as well as for MattKaramazov.com. When you read 200+ books per year, you need to get up and move every once in a while, so you’ll find him at the gym 400 times per year too. He also runs a nonprofit, and ardently believes that unconditional love is the highest power in the universe. He wishes you well.