We are made to believe that the only thing standing between us and our goals is hard work. We are taught that with the right amount of effort, anyone can achieve anything. That is true for the most part, and it is often motivating. But are there times when such teachings actually harm us?
Many people have defied beliefs and achieved what was thought to be impossible at one point. We are powerful and we do have immeasurable potential. But sometimes we get consumed with pride once we realize this. We begin to think that we have no limits, that nothing can hold us back, that we are better than others because we can work hard enough to get what we want.
Why might an athlete believe it’s okay to go through an unhealthy amount of training and to take whatever substance necessary, legal or illegal, in order to achieve his or her goals? Why might a business man choose to sleep only a dangerous two hours every night so he has more time to “work hard” on his goals? These are examples of people who ignore the limits of their bodies and the limits of morality because they believe they are invincible, that only “hard work” keeps them from success.
And it’s the same pride that consumes the people who begin to disrespect and look down on others once they have succeeded in their goals. They believe that only their hard work and unrestrained pursuit is what lead them to success. They believe they are better than others because they “worked harder”.
No, we should not let this kind of pride be the driving force in our lives. First of all, we do have limits, physical ones, moral ones and those set by the people in our lives. We must respect these limits if we really want to see ourselves safely to our goals. Just like when you are hiking a mountain, you need to respect the limits of your trail if you don’t wish to get lost among the woods. If we let the belief in our potential make us ignore limits, we might not get to our goals. If you are that athlete, you may over-tax your body and injure yourself. If you are that business man, you mental ability and creativity may be harmed by your lack of rest so that you are unable do what is necessary to get to your goals.
And we should all remember that there are many factors that will help us succeed. It’s not just our hard work that that makes it all happen. The people who support us, the opportunities that we are presented with, the resources that we happen to luckily have –all these help us in achieving our goals. And just because someone is not as successful as you does not mean that they are lazy or foolish.
Hold on to your humility as you chase your goals. Stay humble. And by that, I mean, don’t forget that no matter how hard your work, you can still fail in your pursuit. That is, unfortunately, still a possibility. Keep in mind that you may need the strength and support of others to achieve your goals, that you are not exactly invincible and all-powerful. You may need more than just hard work to get there. And remember that limits are there to keep you on the safe side.
Respect and look up to the people who have gone the same road before you, regardless of the level of success they eventually reached. Know that you can learn from each one of them. Know that you might not really get to the very top, you may end up with any one of them. So they can all show you the right way to go and the limits to be respected. And even if you do succeed beyond some of them, keep in mind that you could just be luckier and you’re not necessarily better than them.