There is No Substitute for Hard Work

By Jeremy Gulley

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell claims that the trick to being successful is not to just work hard, but to work really hard. He states that successful people don’t work harder than other people, they work “much, much, much harder than most people.” This is not good news for us if we seek quick solutions to difficult problems. But Gladwell is right.

Several years ago I found myself severely out of shape. My wife and I had a new born baby and a toddler to deal with, I was working long hours, and I didn’t eat the right things at the right time. I was about thirty pounds heavier than I wanted to be before I realized that I needed a change.

So I changed.

I started to eat better things less often. I started going to the YMCA at 5am three days a week to take Boot Camp classes, and I would work out in the afternoons, as well. I took it seriously, even though some days I didn’t feel like working hard. The results were slow coming, but they came.

Since then I have run several ultra-marathons, completed a 24 hour mountain bike race, competed in multi-hour adventure races (mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, orienteering) and have maintained that lifestyle. It was hard work, but it paid off. I realized that the only way to get in shape and stay in shape is through hard work and sacrifice. If something is difficult, then the only way to tackle it is through patience and perseverance.

I have joked about writing a diet and exercise book and include only two page: 1) Eat less; 2) Exercise.

Currently I am learning Spanish. I’m in an immersion class where all we speak is Spanish (save a few instructions given in English). It is really difficult and aggravating. Sometime it seems that I don’t know anything. In class, as I’ve written about the last few weeks, I find myself locked-up linquistically – unable to even remember my name.

But it seems to be working. During a recent trip to Orlando, I semi-confidently engaged in a Spanish conversation with a woman from Peru, and found myself communicating better than I thought I could.

I study whenever I have a chance. I conjugate verbs when I don’t feel like it, I study my vocabulary, and I try to translate random English phrases during the day. It is not always fun, but I have discovered that it is the only way to learn.

I feel like writing a book about learning a new language with one page: 1) Study every chance you get and then study some more.

I see commercials on television for products that claim to be “the quickest and easiest way to learn a new language,” and others that promise to help “lose weight and get in shape fast.”

Both claims are complete jibberish. The only way to learn something well, the only way to get in shape, the only way to do anything difficult is to not just work hard, but to work really, really hard.


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Posted by admin on Mar 21 2012. Filed under Jeremy Gulley, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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