Does Hard Work Guarantee Success?

Digging Hard Work

I’ve noticed something with myself. Sometimes it seems I am just spinning my wheels, like a truck in the mud just flinging dirt up in the air. Sometimes I’ve worked very hard, but not felt like I’ve seen any positive results. Have you ever really poured your heart and soul into something only to see that it appears not much came of it?

You might have dreams of changing the world, writing a book, quitting your day job and launching your own business, making millions of dollars, or just wanting to find a nice quiet place to settle down in. It sure seems life would be more secure and comfortable if we were all able to achieve everything we desire. Let’s examine what really makes a success and end this article with and example of a successful person to see if they follow the steps laid our here.

Hard Work

I’ve been studying people, success, and personal growth for the last three years now. So I have some knowledge and expertise here. When I think about what makes someone successful, it seems to always boil down to that person first is a tireless worker. Without fail, that person is spending many hours each day working hard to achieve the success they desire.

I contrast this to myself and I realize that sometimes I just don’t work that hard. I take long breaks. I dabble here and there for an hour or two in a week. The difference in this is the difference between guzzling an entire glass of water, or just taking a small sip or drip of water. I think many times I just take sips and hope that those sips create treasure for me.

Glass of Water
Drip of Water

But if small sips were all that was required, then everyone would achieve the success they desire. So the evidence is overwhelming for me that simply dabbling or taking sips in the area of hard work are not going to create success. It appears that it takes much more than that. One must be willing to completely immerse themselves in what they are doing. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother trying unless you are going to immerse yourself in your desired success.

Goals and Plans

Beyond hard work, there are a few other things that successful people appear to incorporate into their lifestyle. One of these is having clear goals and plans. I have not seen a successful person who is unclear or confused about what they are trying to accomplish. It is very apparent to me that successful people are clear in their goals – often creating to-do lists daily to keep on track.


The reason I feel I “spin my wheels in the mud” sometimes is because of a failure to evaluate the results of what I’m doing. That failure to evaluate can lead to repetitive behavior that creates the same result over and over. It is important to work hard, have clear goals and plans, and then to evaluate based on the goals you have. Without the goals, who knows if you are reaching your target.

It seems to me that successful people are constantly striving to improve and refine their efforts so that they are always increasing the results they get.


I have yet to meet a successful person that is continually depressed, bitter, or has a dreary outlook of the world. In contrast, I’ve met many people who have not increased for most of their life who continually complain, or simply talk about what they want without doing anything about it – usually with an excuse not to do it.

The evidence is overwhelming to me that in order to achieve success in a desired area, there has to be a sense of optimism.


Back in 2004, I created a website to sell computer games. It used a “dropshipper” as the means to take orders and ship the games with my site simply just being the “face” to find games and order. I started using Google Adwords and driving traffic to the site. After about five months, the site broke even. Even so, I was still worried that it was losing money and might not ever make it, so I simply abandoned the project.

Seven years later, I wonder what might have come from that website. Had I stuck with it and been persistent, would it be making a profit today and providing extra income for my family? I will never know, but one thing I have realized is that anytime something new is started, it’s probably not going to do well and just plain suck.

But most successful people I’ve seen started something and stuck with it. Even when there were no positive results in the first few years, they stuck with it and saw it through. Not only that, successful people usually try many things often finding success in only a few areas…

An example of a success

I’m going to present a simple case study of a successful person and show why this person is successful as it correlates to the five principles I’ve outlined here: hard work, goals and plans, evaluation, optimism, and persistence.

Chalene Johnson

Chalene Johnson

Chalene Johnson is a fitness expert, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. She is the creator of “Turbo Jam” and has found success being a motivational speaker. Let’s see how she measures up in the principles outlined…

Hard work

This girl is up early every day and using Twitter and Facebook to constantly stay in touch with her followers. Just look at her accounts: Chalene on Facebook and Chalene on Twitter. These accounts are active with relative information for her audience…

Not only that, she’s actively involved in fitness herself. She keeps in great shape. She does videos. She’s produced top notch workout DVDs. She has an audio program you can listen to while in your car. She has her own company, Powder Blue Productions. The evidence is staggering that she is working very hard both on her passion, and in promoting her business to other people.

Goals and Plans

Chalene is very clear about who she is – a fitness expert, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. Her primary mantra is “To-Do Lists”. Almost daily she talks about them on her Twitter and Facebook account. This simple fact makes it apparent to me that every day she knows exactly what she is going after.


Does Chalene constantly refine and adapt her approach? I don’t have concrete evidence to say yes here. I haven’t actually asked her what she does in regards to “course correcting” and improving. But she has over 70,000 Facebook followers and over 31,000 Twitter followers. I understand these numbers can be achieved through bloated and automated means, but because these numbers are increasing, it suggests to me she is constantly finding ways to reach out and attract a bigger audience.

She is also heavily invested in personal development. In fact, she recently did a seminar with Brian Tracy, one of the leaders in personal improvement. She has a “Car Smarts” product dedicated to learning while in your car driving. This suggests to me that she is engaged in improving herself and finding ways to gain an edge.


To see if Chalene Johnson is optimistic, simply look at her Facebook and Twitter accounts, and then go to her YouTube channel and watch her videos. She has a contagious enthusiasm and her energy is amazing. I doubt she is walking around depressed wondering what to do with her life…


Chalene mentioned the other day that as a fitness instructor, she was terrible for the first few years. But she stuck with it and achieved great success. That she is constantly engaged in new endeavors (fitness and personal development), and engaged daily on her Twitter and Facebook accounts suggests to me that she is persistent and going to stick with what she is doing for as long as she possibly can.


The next time you feel frustrated with your level of success, first ask yourself these five questions. If you cannot answer a resounding yes to them all, then adjust your behavior and gain the habits until you can answer yes.

  • Are you working hard – constantly engaged daily in your endeavors to achieve success?
  • Do you have clear goals and plans laid out to achieve the success you desire (including a daily to-do list)?
  • Do you evaluate the results of your hard work and goals frequently to see if you are achieving desired results, and making changes (both in your own development and work) to do better?
  • Are you optimistic and excited about the future?
  • Are you staying persistent DAILY with your efforts to achieve success?

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4 thoughts on “Does Hard Work Guarantee Success?

  1. Are you related to Charlene or is it a coincidence you have the same last name? A goal without a plan is a wish! I achieved financial independence when I was 38 years old. The key reason was a goal and a plan. I constantly monitored my efforts/progress and adjusted my efforts to achieve my goal.

    1. Hi krantcents – I am not related to Chalene Johnson (though we do share the same last name), but found her online and have been studying her since.

      To achieve financial independence at 38 years old is impressive – I’m 33 right now and realize that my goals and plans, along with the hard work and continued adjustments, are the areas I need to improve in most.

  2. I love Chalene! I first found her through a free Turbo Jam video on ‘On Demand’ and I then went out and purchased the full Turbo Jam program. I always laugh at her quirky personality.

    I definitely see myself acheiving more when I maximize my time and stick to my goals. I’d like to be financially independent by 40 and I am working really hard to get there.– LaTisha

    1. Hey there LaTisha. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment.

      Chalene’s personality is great because she is so comfortable with who she is.

      What a great goal to be financially independent by 40. I have a goal for that as well and about 6 1/2 years left to get there. So I have some work to do.

      Wishing you luck and success as you seek to achieve your goal.

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