Does Hard Work Really Breed Success?

The above question is truly a question for the ages. We’ve all claimed to have worked hard during our careers, but did that “hard work” truly breed success. Hard work in itself has many descriptions. Physical work, such as an iron worker or framing contractor, is of course “hard work”. The strains on one’s body become apparent over time, and wear the worker down. A computer programmer or architect or design engineer does “hard work” with their brains. The strain on the body is there, mostly due to sitting for hours in one spot and with repetitive movements over the years, carpal tunnel raises its ugly head. The cashier at Walmart or Sears, standing in one place for hours on end do “hard work”, and wear out their backs and legs. Both physical and mental work, however, do breed success, albeit different forms and levels of success.


How to describe success? Is it defined by awards on the wall, or money in the bank, or peer recognition, or something else? Is success a physical thing or is it a sense of accomplishment you feel? It’s all of the above or none of the above, any of which are relevant to the individual.

My father worked for years in tool and die machine shops. No awards on the wall, very little money in the bank, legs and back worn out, but in his mind, very successful. He had the best job in the world, according to him. One of my sisters worked for years as a cashier at a big box retailer. Several knee and back operations later, she has to leave that job, before retirement age, with no benefits. But when you talk to her, it’s always about that job and the friends she made and the memories of days long past. In other words: a successful career. I worked as a design engineer in the roof truss industry for over 40 years. I chased jobs when times were tough, moving my family all over the State of Florida. Settling for years in some spots and months or weeks in others. No awards on the wall, very little money in the bank, but in my mind a very successful career. Wouldn’t change a thing.

The steel worker can look at the skyline of a city he helped build, and claim success. The framing contractor can see his handiwork in the subdivision he helped erect, and claim success. The programmer, the web designer, the engineer can see their impact on the internet, and claim success.

Hard work, in whatever form it takes, does breed success, in whatever manner you use to describe success. It can lead to monetary success, or self-worth success, or accomplishment success. It can be awards on the wall or rewards in your heart and mind. Thru hard work all things can be accomplished. Success is the result.

Richard Gould – Design Administrator

Gould Design, Inc.