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Rudra Pandey


Work Smart vs. Work Hard

People who can’t sweat usually have excuses of working smart instead of working hard. Output and time spent are usually directly proportional because in most of the work places people spend only 20% of their brain except for some intense issues. People who know how to sweat and work hard can address intense and complex issues utilizing 100% of their brain when required. I usually tell my daughter that one who has not passed stress test cannot handle complex issues no matter how smart the person may be. In other words, no matter how smart one works, working hard is essential to pass over the hump. I have not seen anyone reach the peak without sweating – hiking, a case in point. Smart ones always see more challenges and opportunities and never stop working. Smart people are ambitious too. Lack of ambition and determination makes us look for excuses for our non-performances and we fail to appreciate successful people who sweat to clear clogs from their brain.

We usually hear in the news that successful people like Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Manmohan Singh work 16 hours a day (I do not have source – apologize for anecdotal comments). Don’t they know how to work smart? I am sure they are smarter than many others who boast about working smart and do not appreciate those who sweat and love work.

This is how it works – those who work smart get more responsibilities and carry work load equivalent to combined load of several of their peers. When one carries extra load and drive the mission of a company, group or a team, he/she needs to work hard no matter how smart he/she maybe. If someone is free and have nothing to do beyond eight hours of work, I believe the person has pure misconception of being smart and habit of reading own book. Such person should try to know what others think of him/her. It is not fair to pass comments like “what a slow/dumb person, keeps on working all the time!” against hard working people.

Work does not stop at work-desk for creative and intelligent people. They keep on thinking even while they are eating if something they have started has not come to an end. Their brain does not stop. Those who finish work in three hours and wonder rest of the day thinking they are stars should really ponder why are not they getting more responsibility from their managers and what is stopping them from grabbing more challenging responsibilities. There are enough challenges around us. Smart ones see them and work hard and lazy ones ignore them saying “that’s not my job!”

I would like bloggers to debate on this topic and prove me wrong if you disagree and support me if you agree.

10 thoughts on “Work Smart vs. Work Hard

  1. One of my Chinese friends used to say “Everyone has got 24 hours to spend, no less no more”. Whether you are smart or dump, it is up to you how you divide these 24 hours and assign the chunks to different priorities which one might have set consciously or unconsciously.

    There is no doubt that if you are smart and you work hard you get the best output. Bill Gates, Jack Welch, and Manmohan Singh are of these types. We can observe that their aim in life is very high, their priorities most probably lies in shaping the world with their vision. And they get the joy from fulfilling their vision.

    On the other hand, some people might be very smart and work for 8 hours a day and get the fun in their life some other way. For example: spending their time with their children and wife. They would like to strike a balance between their work and personal life. You cannot put these guys under the category of lazy people. These people might laugh at the people who work very hard, and do not give much time to family and children. And, in my mind they are absolutely right about what they say. I had an opportunity to hear an interview of (son or grandson) of Mahatma Gandhi from BBC. He said that as a child he missed the parental love which other children got, because it needed to be shared with all India. Similarly we can even argue about the son of Sidhartha Gautam. Since I don’t know the personal life of Bill Gates, Jack Welch and Manmohan Singh I cannot comment on their family life. However, it is true that looking at their busy schedule, time for their family might be a mere fraction of their busy diary compare to someone who has all the time for their family.

    There might be a different category of people who would like to work for 8 hours and just enjoy rest of the time playing or watching TV. In my opinion, that is also not bad.

    We should only bother about the people who are smart and don’t work for the allotted amount of time. I mean who are cheaters. I have only problem with these categories of people. They are burden to the society.

    Rudra, the harvest that you reap depends on the kind of seeds you sow. You have to decide what you want to get out of your life and the time that is available to you.

  2. Good points Rudra dai. In my opinion, working in an efficient manner is working smart. The harder you work the more efficient you become by learning to manage all aspects of your work environment. In addition, when you work efficiently, you get time to focus your energy in other aspects for growth (and make yourself into any number of things). There are no shortcuts for desired achievements or perfection. For example, persistence and extreme hard work made Warren Buffet (the great investor), Tiger Woods (the Golfer), and Bill Gates who they are today. It is only through an enormous amount of hard work one achieves desired goal or perfection. And there is no substitute other than the hard work if you want to excel in any occupation.
    Not every employee shares the same perception towards work. There are employees who have patience for work, growth and excellence and others just toil for paychecks. The former group will lead the company (remember the Pareto principle).

  3. I was alwyas a smart guy from Nursery days.I thought my brain is superb so I can win anybody. In fact I only topped when I had gone through a lot of practice/hard work and difficult endeavors.The Toppers never looke smart. My Pride in my smartness would hurt when i looked at Dumb looking toppers who produced best results. As i thought myself better than anybody else i was lazy to work more in studies.My relationship with others deteriorated because of unnecessary discussions and unreasonable thinking where i tried to show superiority. The real work-driven people rarely had time to pass on arguments,they knew only about results.
    We know our Smart Nepalese society where we spend much time talking about leaders,owners,actors,…and start post-mortem of their deeds,wasting valuable time for other’s goods and bads, whereas We know Western society where many of them do not know much about their own Leaders/Fellowmen, but know about their work only, thereby forming uppermost civilizations and peak of Developments with GDP equivalent 10000USD.
    Working hard does not mean we do not need to look at Family,friends,society,…but by gaining more we can share more. Taking Example of Nepali Marwari Communities, where they spend their whole life in business, are best donors for the poors and needy.
    So, let us survive for work and work for survival of the fittest,else, we will be unable to endure harsh environments and get extinct like dinosaurs which were smart..
    One Example: European/American/Australian/Canadian Countries are always looking for Refugees because Refugees endure and work more to provide quality output than many of us: engineers,doctors,pilots,Educationists,….Imagine if 50,000 Smart engineers of nepal instead of Bhutani Refugees were to be taken in by these countries!!!!
    So, Working Class defines the destiny of country, not those who have Smartness and degrees but work less.
    We can look at meagre Roads/Telecom facilites/Electricity/Water/Sanitation/Health/Education in Nepal and count related engineers/Doctors…. Who is working,Smartness?Why less output? Why poor?

  4. Rudra you worked hard all the time. All of us know that. Please make sure you do not miss the boat while working hard. Life is not too long. Have some fun my friend. Do you spend enough time with two little daughters – Aarju and Mahika? Before you know, they will go to college and be on their own. Rush now!!!

    Guess who?

  5. Our educational system and most of the systems are designed for mediocre. Therefore, smart people are as much sufferers as dumb ones.

    ‘discipline’, ‘hard work’, ‘persistence’, ‘delayed gratification’, etc all are necessary ingredients to make a ‘smart’ one a ‘successful’ one .
    But I feel that sometimes we have to leave all that rush and be ‘lazy’ and lay under the sun, gaze at the sky and wonder ‘ what am I running for, where am I running to and what is the worth of this rush after all’.

    Being ‘lazy’ is such a fun.
    But if there are interesting, stimulating and challenging work, work is not work; it is ‘fun’.

  6. Again! Lecture Again!! OK Dr. Pandey, we hear you loud and clear. I prefer working hard just like you have mentioned.

    Yestai Ho

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