how to know what to work hard on

How To Know What to Work Hard On

When I wrote about the age-old debate about whether it is better to work hard or work smart, there were a number of people who insisted that smart work is the only… smart choice.

They basically insisted that you must avoid hard work at all costs, and always find a way to work smart.

Those people missed the point.

Anyway, I want to take that thought further here.

If you got the point I was trying to pass, which is to figure out a way to work hard, then work smart on it, congratulations! You are going to be successful in life.

You already got the message of the importance of hard work, but it doesn’t end there.

What should you work hard on?

Each of us has certain genetic predispositions – which means we are genetically built to be and act in certain ways.

It’s the old nature vs nurture debate all over. And I’m saying here that it’s a bit of both.

Scientists have put forth a personality profiling known as the “Big Five”, which breaks down our behaviors into five spectrums:

  1. Openness
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extroversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

Whichever part of the spectrum you fall to in each of these classes predisposes you to certain behaviors.

This predisposition means you will naturally find some things easy, and some difficult.

It doesn’t mean you are lazy or ‘wrong’, it is literally your biology at work here.

For example, if you score low on conscientiousness, you are more likely to be easygoing and spontaneous, and less likely to be organized and efficient.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other.

What you now want to do is to play to your strength.

Determine which behaviors are easier for you and work very hard on them.

The fact that these things come easy to you does not eliminate the need to work hard on them, instead, it helps you determine exactly what to work hard on.

As James Clear said in Atomic Habits,

Genes do not eliminate the need for hard work. They clarify it. They tell us what to work hard on.

James Clear

And in closing, I will leave you with this thought – your genes do not determine if you will be successful in life, but they help determine what you will be successful at.

Samuel is an avid reader and a freelance writer, in that order. He fancies himself funny, but his friends regularly don't laugh at his jokes. I have been a student of personal development for several years, and I created this blog to share my knowledge with others and help them become better versions of themselves.

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