Hard Work: still the secret to success


by Gregg Steinberg
For The Tennessean … Author Tom Clancy died this month. He was amazingly successful, with 17 best-sellers, many of which became blockbuster movies such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Clear and Present Danger.” He made millions from his craft.

You would think someone at the top of his profession would find that the words flow like water from his mind and that his work must bring him great joy. It was actually to the contrary. On “Charlie Rose” a few years back, Clancy mentioned that writing was one of the most miserable jobs he knew, but he added that someone has to do it.

I interpreted that powerful statement to indicate that writing did not come easy to Clancy, but rather it was hard labor. Inspiration came from sitting at the typewriter (or computer) and grinding it out, day after day, hour after hour.

Ben Hogan, the famed golfer, felt the same. When asked what his magical formula was to his great play, he simply stated, “The secret is in the dirt.” Hogan knew that hard work bred success, nothing more or less.

All the greats have the attitude that the road to excellence is paved with hard work. Bill Bradley, who has achieved at the highest level, from being a Rhodes Scholar to a U.S. senator to a hall of fame basketball player, believed that you have to work harder than the next person. As he put it, “When you are not practicing, someone else is, and given equal ability, when you both meet, he will win.”

Most of us do not see the journey it takes to master an art, sport or business — we see only the endpoint. The famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz once said, “If I don’t practice for one day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don’t practice for three days, the world knows it.”

Every great success story has one facet in common: hard work.

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University and author of the Washington Post best-seller “Full Throttle.” He speaks to businesses about mental and emotional toughness.

But hard work is only part of it. And effort pointed in the wrong direction will take us to anywhere but success.

Join us on October 22 as we get pointed in the right direction and take a look at what’s in the smart investor’s “dirt.”





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