Ideas Alone Won’t Cut It: The Value of Hard Work

Work bootsMany of us are always on the lookout for shortcuts: Ways to make things easier, faster, less strenuous. (Hence the popularity of sites like Lifehacker, and book titles that feature phrases like “The Easy Way to…” or “…Made Easy.”)

To be sure, there are frequently ways that we can make things easier, faster, and less strenuous. But shortcuts can cut only so much effort out of things. In the end, there’s no substitute for hard work.

Over at The 99 Percent, Scott Belsky puts it this way:

Having recently concluded four years of interviews for a book on the topic of making ideas happen, I can say one thing for sure: Hard work is the single greatest competitive advantage. Ideas don’t happen because they are great. The genius is in the execution, aka the “99% perspiration” that has become this site’s namesake.

Perspiration implies sweat, self-discipline, and (yes) occasional exhaustion. I think this is what Malcolm Gladwell teaches us in his book Outliers when he proposes that a true mastery of anything requires 10,000 hours of doing it. There are no shortcuts to lasting success.

I once asked my daughter, Patricia Schnase*, for her thoughts on creativity, and she told me, “Creativity is work. Living up to your inspiration, that spark of an idea, is a lot of work.”

And the thing that’s most likely to keep you going through all of that hard work is passion.

(Some of you may be asking why, if hard work is an integral part of creativity and innovation, is this blog called “Innovation, Clear and Simple?” Don’t confuse simple with easy. Simple means not elaborate or complicated. Hard work is not elaborate or complicated.)

*Besides being an aspiring author, Patricia also works at a bookstore. You can read here thoughts on books and the bookselling trade here: Between the Pages.

Image credit: Renaude Hatsedakis/Stock.xchng.

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