Work Smart, Not Hard!

A person I worked with once told me that the problem with me wasn’t that I didn’t work hard enough. The problem was that I worked too hard — like a donkey — he said. ‘Even a donkey works hard, you’ve got to work smart son.’

But I was in the Bhagavad Gita ‘work without expecting anything in return’ phase so I shrugged him off as another petty merchant surviving to exploit the life out of people and the world. And continued with my ‘work’. I wasn’t too embarrassed at being called a donkey too!

A few years have passed since that advice and now I wonder whether he was correct or not.

I want to ask how one might achieve success by seeing whether it is possible by sticking only to hard work. (Because I didn’t!)

I see only two ways of ‘making it’ through hard work:

  1. Either someone ‘successful’ notices your sweat and decides to pull you upwards.
  2. You get so many things done or put so much stuff out there that the structure of the world collapses and the Gods grant you your much-deserved glory in the sun.

I don’t see any of those two things happening.

First won’t happen because nobody cares about you and second won’t happen because God doesn’t too!

But I see some light. For that, we need to modify the two points above as such:

  1. Either someone successful notices your ̶s̶w̶e̶a̶t̶ *noise* and decides to think you must be of worth. OR
  2. You get so many things done *right* or put so much *right* stuff out there at the *right* places ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶u̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶l̶d̶ ̶c̶o̶l̶l̶a̶p̶s̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶G̶o̶d̶s̶ ̶g̶r̶a̶n̶t̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ and you get your much-deserved glory in the sun.

This seems more plausible. This seems to have balanced the equation. Looking at the trends of the world, Noise sure is the king right now. This is where I remember another thing I was taught:

‘Even if you want to start a tea shop, make sure you hire a musical band to play at the opening.’

The second point seems to have a lot of ‘right’ in it.

I think this is where the ‘work smart’ comes in: It’s about you doing the right work, in the right way at the right place.

This clearly proves that hard work has no value at all. But what could that ‘right’ possibly mean?

This is the definition that agrees to our ‘right’ of all definitions Merriam has:

: SUITABLE, APPROPRIATE the right man for the job

because our ‘right’ surely doesn’t mean — upright or good! (The example too seems relevant.)

Going further:

Suitable : adapted to a use or purpose | suitable for kitchen use

b: satisfying propriety : PROPER | suitable dress

c: ABLE, QUALIFIED | a suitable candidate for the job.

Appropriate : especially suitable or compatible : FITTING an appropriate response remarks appropriate to the occasion.

The use of words adapted, satisfying, proper, able, qualified, compatible, fitting — suggest that doing the right things is about being a tool or worse, a slave to a person or a system.

What if,

A modern slave: A person who thinks he is free but isn’t?

The worst slave being: a Slave to the Public.

This clears things up: To be successful you have to fit right in as a tool or serve others. Since a lot of people are competing for that position, you have to be able to make a lot of noise. You have to be the KING OF NOISE. For, the noisiest wins! You have to be the noisiest utensil.

This means, working smart is all about bending over or kneeling down!

This leaves me in doubt:

  1. I want to work hard, but it won’t make me successful.
  2. Slaving will make me successful, but I want to remain free.
  3. But I want to work hard, be free and be successful!
  4. I would rather be a donkey than a slave.

Q: So what do I do?

A: I don’t know. If I knew, I wouldn’t be crying here over my failure!


P.S. My actual solution is to work hard at creating spectacular things with patience. That makes me a WISE DONKEY. AND I LOVE IT! Donkeys are good. Successful people, not so much!




Writer. Thinking, Experiencing. Mind-Life-Humans-Cosmos. Subscribe to me via email. More at |

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

What do staff like most about returning to the office?

Take Your Job and Love It

The Complete Guide to Creating your Coworking Technology Ecosystem — Optix Blog

Work From Home — The New Normal

Questions designers should ask when interviewing for a position

Which is better? Domestic versus Overseas Team

Top 4 hiring trends in Bengaluru for 2020 | Michael Page

A Random Comparison of a Project From Bootcamp & the COVID-19 Pandemic

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Adesh Acharya

Adesh Acharya

Writer. Thinking, Experiencing. Mind-Life-Humans-Cosmos. Subscribe to me via email. More at |

More from Medium

Peoples of Learning


Answering Life’s Big Questions: Do We Have Free Will?

10 Timeless Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on Life