Working Hard Does Not Guarantee Your Success

Here’s what I’ve discovered.

I don’t believe that if you work hard and really push yourself, you’ll necessarily succeed in all your goals. I really have come to believe that some people, no matter how hard they try will not succeed in the way they think they will. Not because they are not worthy, but because that’s not how life seems to work.

Why do I believe this? 

Because after all this time, I know in my heart that I have done all I can in every way to succeed in the ways I’ve wanted to – my goals. I’ve worked hard. I’ve done my due diligence. I’ve risked. I have certainly taken chances and I have definitely gone the extra mile. And yet, I am still seemingly so far away from my goals. And here’s the thing – I would be okay admitting that maybe I haven’t done enough and maybe accept that I wasn’t as talented or just not good enough if I wasn’t seeing so many people who I am sure are not “good enough” or worthy doing things that I want to do! There are people I’ve seen being successful in a way that I want to be successful, and it just doesn’t make sense. 

It’s not that I am better than anyone, it’s just understanding that I am not worse than everyone else who is succeeding in their lives. The proof, the evidence to me, is obvious.

I no longer believe that if you work hard and really do your best, that you will ultimately get to where you want to be. It’s just not that simple. If it was, not only would I be an incredible success today in all the ways I want to be, but so many people who I know who have done their absolute best, sacrificed, worked hard, would also be successful and in the places they want to be…

I think life is far more complex than all of that. I think our dreams drive us to do the things we need to do to get to where we’re going, but it doesn’t ultimately mean we’ll get to that superficial goal – like winning an Oscar or buying a dream home, or finding that perfect partner – but instead, maybe part of life is to find ourselves in the bigger, more important goals of being in joy, understanding happiness, and being of love.

This makes so much more sense to me now. I think of some of my old financially wealthy clients who had everything and yet were the most miserable people I’ve ever met. Their families were full of hate. They had degrees from Ivy league institutions but were so uneducated. They lacked compassion and pure joy. They seemed tortured for love, in every aspect. What they valued was of such little importance and their happiness and joy – even their love – was so small and almost nonexistent. Pathetic. I would have never traded places with any of the people I ever worked for.

I do not have many of the things I had hoped for by this time in my life. If I’m being honest, I never thought I’d make it to this age. And now that I have, I completely thought I’d be done with the struggle of wanting to have accomplished this goal or that goal.  Maybe in a way, I am done with that wanting… but it’s just not what I thought it would be is what I’m saying. 

So, I wonder – am I saying this to soothe my disappointment in not succeeding? Am I finding a reason to justify my failure? Maybe. But it’s not like I’m going to stop trying to attain those goals anyway. The fact is, I don’t have a choice. It is built within me to be the thing I want to be. An acorn can only grow to be an Oak tree and I don’t believe there is anything different about my existence. I can only pursue becoming the thing I’m supposed to become so it’s not like admitting this is justifying failure, it’s seeing things from a different perspective – trying to make logical sense out of all of it. 

I hate to come to this lame cliché conclusion, but I do believe that at the end of the day, it really is about the journey. It may not be about the ultimate goals but about the process and how we get to where we’re going and how we deal with it along the way. Who are we in a moment of crisis? How do we deal with pain and joy? Are we gracious in success? Do we love even when there is hate? What is our true character when things are not easy? And so on and so on…

If I look at it that way, I’m gonna say I’ve done pretty brilliantly and yeah, I can live with that. 

Have a lovely, sweet day.

And please check out my podcast, All About The Joy wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Thanks again for stopping by.


9 thoughts on “Working Hard Does Not Guarantee Your Success

  1. How many times did Thomas Edison fail before he finally invented the old light bulb? A couple of times. Or was it a couple of hundred times or so?

    We just gotta keep on pushing and help each other get through the difficult times as well as the more pleasant ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think in many ways life would be boring or unchallenging if it worked out how we wanted it to. One thing is for sure – if we don’t work hard we will never get to where we want to be.

    We are never satisfied as humans… that’s what keeps driving us. Keep growing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow. What a great post today, Carmen. It provokes a bit of a story:

    I used to think I was put here for some grand purpose, some *thing* that makes me unique. I was going to be a hero; I was destined.

    Turns out it’s all hogwash and dribble. I’m not special. I’m a lettuce leaf, but I exist in this truly beautiful nutritious salad.

    Like you, I’ve noticed those wealthy wretches too. They’ve got everything I want, materially, but what a price they’ve paid! Took a while to realize I’m not willing to pay those prices.

    One thing I’m learning through my eastern yoga practices: no matter what we do in life, we’re never really satisfied. We think if we own this or that, or if we get married or if we raise our kids right, we’ll be happy. We don’t realize what we’re really after is to feel good inside ourselves. We think money or romance will get us there and are disappointed when it turns out not to be true.

    So if we short-circuit that middle-man – the striving for relationships or money or stuff – and simply pursue the joy, it makes so much of a difference! That’s what I’m trying to do now with my yoga.

    Sorry for making this seem like it’s all about me, Carmen. It’s obviously not. I blame you though: your posts are so thought-provoking and engaging – it’s hard not to talk about how I relate to what you’re talking about. : )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, goodness, never apologize for sharing your thoughts and making it about you — this is about all of us, and I’m intrigued! I’m grateful you took the time. I agree with a lot of what you said. I guess my issue is that the things I yearn for are so deep inside me I can’t seem to just walk away. That’s the frustrating part for me. I have tried to blow it off, or say, “I’m done.” and then find myself agonizing over how to do it anyway. I feel it’s an interesting cycle and I think sharing this truth about me here and in my podcast, has already let me know I’m not the only one! I love that as human beings we are never satisfied. I think that’s just another excuse for growth, when it’s healthy and not destructive… but yes, thank you Wolfe. I appreciate this share so much! 💕🤗

      Liked by 1 person


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