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These days you hear a lot of talk about working smart. People often tell you, you don’t get anywhere by sheer hard work. Look at the people working at construction sites. They are working very hard, but are they getting anywhere in life? If you want to achieve success, you need to work smart.
Such comments leave most of us in a confusion. What happened to the sayings like ‘work hard and the success will be yours’ OR ‘smart work is what make you succeeded sooner’ ??
Don’t worry! We will try to clear out the confusion through a story.
Older Lumberjack Vs Younger Lumberjack
In a town, an annual lumberjack competition was held. The rule for the competition was simple, who ever cut the most tree at the day end would be the winner.
There were only two people who got selected for the final. One was old and experienced lumberjack while another was younger and stronger lumberjack.
Young man was full of enthusiasm and as the final competition started. He went off into the woods and set to work straight away. Older lumberjack went to opposite side of the woods and started his work calmly.
During competition, Younger lumberjack could hear sound from other side of forest where older lumberjack was cutting trees. He could hear sound of trees falling on older man side. Young man noticed that at regular interval, sound of trees felling would stop from older man side.
Younger man took from this that the older lumberjack was taking rest after regular interval to get his stamina back. Younger man took it as an opportunity and took even that time to cut more trees without taking any rest.
At the end of competition, younger lumberjack looked at the pile of woods he cut and felt confident that he would win as he didn’t take rest like older lumberjack and continued to cut trees from beginning of competition till end without any rest.
At the medal ceremony younger man stood there confidently that he would be awarded the prize of being champion of competition. Next to him was older man who was looking much less exhausted than the younger man.
When result were announced, young man was shocked to hear that older man won that competition.
Younger man turned to older lumberjack and said, “How can this be even possible?? After every hour you would stop cutting trees and take rest while i was still cutting trees even at that time and yet you win.” Older man turned to him and replied, “Yes, i took break after every hour but it was not just for rest but i also took that time to sharpen my Tools.”
[ Note – The story is copied from the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ written by Stephen R. Covey. ]
There are many messages that we can get from the lumberjack story, perhaps on a shallow level we may think that a sharp tool is more effective, so why struggle with a blunt tool, metaphorically this could also mean that more effective work gets more done.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln.
On a deeper level, we can see other meanings in the lumberjack story. Perhaps we should take notice ‘that experience’ i.e that of the older lumberjack should never be underestimated and we should also take time to plan and do things more effectively.
The other message we take away from this story is the one that has been made more familiar in Stephen Covey’s book. He uses the story as a metaphor of the need to stay sharp in life and to always seek to improve oneself.
In our Life we just keep on rushing to do things but forget to understand that we need to stop and let our-self rest and have time to think better and clear about life.
The lumberjack story, is a great story to use during talks, business presentations or even just to tell to your kids.
Discussing about whether hard work is good or smart work, most people will prefer smart work but as a part of discussion we will have to look at both the aspects.
Hard work means handling things patiently and it usually takes place with certain set of defined rules and regulations while smart work means handling things tactfully and instantaneously. Hard work is usually practised when a person has ample time and smart work is usually practised when the work needs to be done in less amount of time.
Hard work is the building block for the smart work. To do smart work one should have sound knowledge of the subject. This knowledge can be achieved only through hard work.
We believe that hard work is always productive – perhaps not in a short run. Rewards come to you when you are not looking for them continuously. When you step out to work with a passion to do your best, you will bring out the best in the others as well! That itself is a great reward.
Is it important to work hard or not?
Now we will have a look at the smart work. It is a fact that today nobody has much time to act or to create his or her impression.
Actually hard work and smart work go hand in hand for you to be successful. Smart work is about making right strategy. Smart work always saves your time which is an important aspect. Through smart work you can achieve your goals faster.
Hard work doesn’t need mental ability. Conversely a smart worker uses his brain to make the work easier. As a conclusion, we can say that smart work is very important in today’s fast paced life. But to achieve that stage one should do hard work in the background wisely.
‘Agile Lean Life’ team have smartly differentiate these two things briefly. If you wish then you could read their article from here :
A simple labour who is working for atleast 8-9 hours to construct something, do you think he is succeeded?
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
Lets take an example of two labour (say A and B). Both are working to construct a 7×7 wall using bricks, concretes, cements and whatever required. A is simply started keeping bricks and applying cement mixture onto it. Whereas B is planning for some measurement. He measured things by using his brain. He applied techniques and marked points and draws line just to keep wall in straight line. He then started creating the wall. While A is doing the samething but without technique. He failed because allignment of bricks was not linear. He again repeated the same but again failed for next stage of allignment. After sometime, struggling hard; he got success i.e. finishes his work. But B succeded faster because he has put some extra efforts. B finishes his work in less time. If A learn the techinque of B, then he will also get success at faster rate. Therefore if you’d learn your mistakes and correct those things, you will be succeessful fastly.
If four things are followed – having a great aim, acquiring knowledge and hard work, and perseverance – then anything can be achieved.
That Knowledge for hard work is what we called SMARTNESS. Hence that hard work with smartness is called SMART WORK.
So, you can now figure out the logic behind the smart work and hard work. But there is still much to say. If we described it in detail, the article may became boring. Therefore, Keep patience and forget thinking about mistakes. Learn the fault you made in your failure, plan smartly with confidance. Go again and meet SUCCESS. All the Best !