No Substitute for Hard Work

My middle son, a freshman in high school, is challenged by his biology class this year. School has always come pretty easy for him so this academic challenge is a new experience. Actually, most things in life have come pretty easy for him so adversity in general is a new experience. Last week, he had a big bio test and he was determined to do well. And I have to say, he really worked hard. He studied late into the night on the evening before the test and was awake and studying at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of the test. I was really hoping he would do well on this test; partially to help his grade, but more importantly, so he could see that hard work is a great way to deal with a challenge.

Thomas Edison once said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” In a similar theme, Woody Hayes the former football coach at Ohio State University said, “I’ve had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven’t run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can’t outwork you, then smarts aren’t going to do them much good. That’s just the way it is. And if you believe that and live by it, you’d be surprised at how much fun you can have.”

Hard work really is an important ingredient for success. As Margaret Thatcher said, “I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it will get you pretty near.” As leaders, we need to set the example for our teams. If we work hard, our team members will also tend to work hard. If we model hard work, they will see the value of working hard and the success that can come from hard work.

We found out this week that my son earned a 91% on his bio test. His hard work paid off. He succeeded because he put in the effort and hard work needed to achieve his goal.

Life is full of adversity. The challenges we face seem to mount in both number and severity as we grow older. We have a choice as to how we handle these challenges. We can let them defeat us without a fight; or we can decide to outwork the challenges by giving our best effort. When you face adversity, remember that there is no substitute for hard work. With hard work, you can overcome the toughest challenges and make it to the top.

Thanks for reading,


4 thoughts on “No Substitute for Hard Work

  1. Well said Jim. May people could do so much more with a little more hard work, both leaders and people in general.

  2. Jim this is an especially important message in this “entitlement” generation. So many young people expect things to just happen. It is our role as parents and leaders to show them hard work will get you through the difficult times and lead to life’s rewards. Thanks for using the great Woody Hayes quote!!!

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