This sounds so straightforward and simple, but yet hard work and kindness are often overlooked on the road to success. They are passed over in favor of shortcuts, a “what’s in it for me?” attitude, and worst of all, entitlement. Somewhere on the journey, it is easy to forget the practices of graciousness, persistence, and humility. It is not because people aren’t good and kind. It is because in these days of instant gratification we want things to happen fast. We want them to happen NOW. And we don’t always care or think enough about how it happens and who we become in the process.
Hard work should be a given, but so often complacency supplants it. At its most caustic, entitlement creeps in and the feeling we deserve something eclipses the efforts necessary to earn our individual goals. Perhaps one starts to feel they have worked hard enough and long enough, and it is their turn at success. Unfortunately, there are no “turns” to be bestowed. It is true that we may not always achieve everything we set out to, no matter how focused or determined we are. But it is not failure if you were working honestly and intently. Most likely, other fruits of your labor – ones maybe you did not foresee – will be earned along the way.
Being kind might actually prove more challenging than hard work because so many of us see kindness as an opposing factor to success. People think if they are kind, they will be seen as a pushover. If they are considerate of others, they will never see their own rise to the top. However, at the heart of any accomplishment is the character of the person achieving it. Everyone on your journey deserves your graciousness and respect, no matter their place in your ultimate goal. And it’s true that difficult decisions, such as firing an employee for under-performing or walking away from a friendship that has turned toxic, are inevitable throughout life. Kindness does not mean always making everyone happy, but rather that your motivation and intentions for such decisions are out of a place of honesty and fairness instead of malice.
We were taught from an early age to pay attention, do the work, and play nice. These behaviors are not herculean tasks, yet the lack of them is constantly holding people back from the “amazing” things that could be happening in their lives (however that is defined by the individual). Of course there are other skills and traits necessary for particular successes, but none of it will matter without these two pillars standing strong. Next time you assess what you are doing to achieve your goals and live your best life, make sure these two basic principles are part of your master plan.