A professor told me (on many occasions), “work smart, not hard”. Although he had good intentions, he was not a great mentor – as even his peers have since confided in me. This teacher had seen me try to tackle engineering problems with brute force instead of finding an easier way to accomplish the same goal. While I do agree with the first half of the motto, I cannot, and will not, be content with the second.
Let’s say you do, indeed, work smarter than your equally-talented competition, and you can accomplish the same task as they do in half the time and with half the overall effort. Would it not be logical that you may be able to expend the same energy and time as your competitor, and, by working carefully, complete twice the work? I would argue that it is better for a person to “work smart, AND hard”.
I was not brought up to take the easy way out, which, I admit, has made some tasks unnecessarily more difficult. But, I am fortunate. For it is easier for most people to work on the ‘smart’ part than to learn a good work ethic. If you want to succeed in anything you do in life, start by working hard at whatever you do. Next, love what you are doing so that you will naturally desire to be the best. When you love what you do, you will be drawn to learn every facet of it and it will be much easier to find the smart way to accomplish your goals.
Recognition and reward will follow if you focus on working smart, AND hard.