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Success Is the Result Of…

Updated: Nov 3, 2020


By Gonzalo Cordova


June 2020

What word(s) did you use complete the title of this article? One of my favorite quotes is “success is the result of a lot of hard work”. I first saw this posted on the wall in the office of one of my college professors, Dr. Hodgson. It turns out this quote encompasses more wisdom than I could have ever suspected.

Work – Trying Is Not Enough


In Physics, we learn that work is defined as the application of force to produce

movement. Notice that both force AND movement need to take place for work to

exist. This applies perfectly to our careers because we are constantly applying

effort(s) in order to produce results. However, trying alone does not lead to

successful careers. You can’t just show up (force). Without results (movement), you

won’t have success in your career (work). Tangible results are needed to validate the

efforts we make and serve as the foundation of any successful career.

Hard – Quality of Work


One cannot become faster by running at the same speed all the time. This is why to

get faster, a runner practices speed workouts independently of the distance he or

she is training for. The same happens at work. Success depends on our ability to

devote a specific amount of time at a high level of focus or concentration in order to

achieve a particular result. This is the “optimal experience” discussed by Mihaly

Csikszentmihalyi, in his book Flow. Also, it is not realistic to think that we can work

at a level of high intensity all the time. Thus, it is important to choose the right

moment and make our focused work count toward the results that matter the

most.

A Lot – Quantity of Work


Everyone is naturally gifted to do something better than others in sports, school,

work, etc. However, no matter how gifted you are at something, your gift needs to

be discovered, refined, and even tested to achieve its full potential. This process

creates the muscle memory needed to know and control the gift, even under

pressure. Anders Ericsson, in his book Peak, documented that professional

musicians and chess players need years of deliberate practice to achieve mastery.

Quantity of quality work matters, even for the gifted.

Success – No guarantees


I erroneously thought that quantity and quality of work, backed by tangible results,

would automatically deliver a successful career. I have found that there is more to

it. Doing our part does not guarantee success. There are other factors, many

outside of our control, that influence career success such as timing, networking,

and politics, to name a few. However, when these other factors do favor us, success

will take place if we have done our part to claim it.

To conclude, let me encourage you to use the thoughts above to pursue success in your career with renewed passion. Focus intensively when it matters, give your absolute best, and deliver results. Repeat this process many times, but do not neglect rest. When the environment is right, success will knock on your door, and you will be ready to answer its call.

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