"To succeed, one must work hard." Do you agree?

I often hear people say that one must work hard if one wants to succeed. I totally disagree with this idea for there are many factors which affect one's success. And to me the most important thing among others is efficiency.

Perhaps it is due to the influence of Confucian tradition, people in Hong Kong always suggest that diligence is the mother of success. Their argument is that one must work in order to achieve something. And to them "work" means only working hard. Then they proceed by citing examples. The most often cited example is "The Stupid Old Man Who Attempts to Move a Mountain."

I have no doubt that one must work in order to achieve something. But the equation "work=diligence=success" is an over-simplified one. Have you ever seen people working all day and getting nothing done? I must say these people are not selfish people; they really work hard. For example: Peter is my manager. He always arrives at the office before 8:30 am and leaves only after 6:30 pm. Yet I still see him piling up documents on his desk. What makes it so? I think what he lacks is an efficient method to deal with his problems. He always does this or that, but he never does things in a logical way. The result is that he messes about for nothing.

So I think working efficiently is more important than working hard.


by Thomas Shum