We are all familiar with the term “hard work pays off.” It means exactly that: when you work hard, the results will show for themselves. However, it is not a lesson that can be learned overnight. In fact, it takes time to understand the value. Why is it such an important idea?

Let’s break it down. What really is hard work? Do we have an agreed-upon definition for hard work? Eh, not really. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘hardworking‘ as “constantly, regularly, or habitually engaged in earnest and energetic work.” We can deduce that hard work means someone who makes a habit of putting in a diligent, passionate effort and/or job. Additionally, Dictionary.com defines ‘hardworking’ as “industrious or zealous.”

Now we know what hard work is, but how do we know it will pay off? In short, I suppose there is no official guarantee it will work out, right? This is true. However, does that mean you shouldn’t try? Of course, not. There will always be a risk in any decision you make. Should that impact your decision to work hard or not? How can you yield the lowest amount of risk? Well, not putting in the hard work. Okay, fine, and perhaps that is correct in some scenarios. However, if you never risk it, how can you ever reap the rewards? To put it simply, you can’t.

It’s similar to the Wayne Gretzky’s (made popular by Michael Scott of The Office) quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. If you don’t put in the hard work, you could miss embarking on an opportunity. You may create a groundbreaking project or solve a longstanding problem. Who knows? The possibilities are countless. When we are excited and ignited by our work, we willingly put in the hard work to yield the intended results.

Yes, there will be times when we put in hard work, which does not work out the way we wanted. However, I like to think that gives us a better appreciation for when it does work out. It makes my passion burn even hotter to push myself harder, than I knew I could be pushed. You will be surprised what you can accomplish when you are determined. It can be hard to stop you when you set your mind to something.

What’s the point? My point is to encourage you to find that job, project, idea, etc., that excites you. Do all you can to attain this goal. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. Learn from your experience, and go back to the drawing board. Whatever it is you do, do not give up. It can be discouraging after working hard and not getting the intended results. However, there is always a lesson to be learned – win or lose. I promise if you keep trying, you will find that passion and meet the intended goal. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams. We are all so much stronger than we know!